Free Legal Resources Available for Florida Panhandle Residents
Hurricane Michael is the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall. It’s also the most intense Panhandle hurricane. Ever.
This has distorted life for many Floridians, SuitsOn Staffing knows that people need as many resources as they can get so they can get back on track again. My Panhandle just published an article listing many invaluable resources for Panhandle residents who were displaced by the hurricane.
Florida residents dealing with property damage are probably battling with insurance companies now, trying to get the destruction covered under their policies. There are other obvious problems, like the loss of valuable documents (many originals of wills and trust documents are waterlogged now). Applying for emergency loans is in very high effect right now as well. These processes are unfamiliar and overwhelming. As a result, the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, the American Bar Association, the ABA Young Lawyers Division, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are teaming up to offer a hotline with volunteer lawyers who can help with immediate problems, like:
- Life, property, and medical insurance claims
- Applying for FEMA and other benefits
- Coordinating repair contractors
- Replacing original legal documents
- Dealing with a mortgage, landlord/tenant, or foreclosure issue
This hotline (available at 1-866-550-2929) is available to residents of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington counties who were affected by Hurricane Michael. If an attorney can help with your issue, they will return voicemails left on the hotline within two business days.
Conversely, personal injury cases — such as cases paid on a contingent basis — aren’t covered by this service, so those cases will be referred out to local attorneys.
Furthermore, the My Panhandle article offers other necessary resources listed by the Florida Bar Association, such as Florida Free Legal Answers, Legal Assistance Consumer Guide, and Legal Aid Assistance. A Price Gouging hotline exists because of unethical insurance companies looking to make money off others’ suffering (1-866-9-NO-SCAM). Those who need major disaster recovery should register with FEMA and see if they can get additional assistance.
Companies you never expected are also pitching in, such as the U.S. Small Business Association. They have low-interest disaster loans, which can apply to a small business, a nonprofit, even homeowners (landlords, for example) or renters. This way, you might be able to cover what an insurance company does not.
Make sure to watch the Florida Bar Association hurricane website for more updates, and please — call the hotline if you need help. Even if they can’t assist you, they can find someone who will!