How South Carolina storm victims can get free legal assistance

A week after a deadly tornado struck Orangeburg County, S.C., debris and destruction were still visible across the area.

Friday, May 8, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A toll-free legal aid hotline is available to South Carolina victims of the April 12-13 tornadoes and severe storms.

The legal aid is available to those who suffered damage in recently declared disaster areas in Aiken, Colleton, Hampton, Marlboro, Oconee, Orangeburg and Pickens counties.

The service, which allows callers to request the assistance of a lawyer to aid in storm-related matters, is a partnership between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the South Carolina Bar, the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division and South Carolina Legal Services.

Storm victims facing legal issues who are unable to afford a lawyer may call 877-797-2227, ext. 120, (toll-free) or 803-576-3815 to request assistance. When connected to the hotline, callers should identify that they are seeking disaster-related legal assistance, brief details of the assistance needed and their county of residence.

Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with South Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. This hotline is separate from the COVID-19 pro bono hotline.

Storm victims may also request assistance online by emailing disasterinfo@scbar.org or submitting disaster-related questions at sc.freelegalanswers.org.

The type of legal assistance available includes:

• Assistance with securing Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government benefits available.
• Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims.
• Help with home repair contracts and contractors.
• Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster.
• Assistance in consumer-protection matters, remedies and procedures.
• Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems.
• Counseling on landlord-tenant problems.

Low-income residents may also contact South Carolina Legal Services at 1-888-346-5592 between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays for free legal representation, advocacy and information. They may also submit a request for free services at https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.