How to get legal help after Houston's floods

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Flood damage can lead to legal issues, and if you have questions, local lawyers are here to help.

Attorneys from the Houston Bar Association and the State Bar Association have set up special hotlines especially for people affected by the flooding and storms.

Houston Bar Association free hotline: First and third Wednesdays of every month, starting June 3, 12pm-9pm. Call 713-759-1133.

State Bar Association free hotline - Call 800-504-7030. Calls can be in English and Spanish. Call anytime, you can leave a message.

Houston Bar Association President Laura Gibson said common issues they discuss with people are about insurance, property damage, government-sponsored assistance, contracts, lost documents, landlord-tenant questions.

Callers will speak with lawyers who volunteer to help. Anyone can call regardless of income level.

Gibson said, "If they qualify for legal aid, they can be referred to a lawyer with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. If they don't qualify for legal aid, then we can refer them to the Houston Lawyer Referral Service where that service can put them in touch with a lawyer who will offer a consult and I think it's $20 for the first 30-minute consult and then we'll work with them on handling their case on an hourly basis."

Gibson advised, "One important thing to keep in mind is most flood insurance policies require that a claim be made within 60 days of the loss. So if people haven't already, they should notify their insurance company of the loss, work with an adjuster to come up with the value of their property loss so that they can make a claim.

She continued, "I feel like people don't want to make a claim because they don't want their premiums to go up, but they should realize that's why they purchase this insurance so there's been a lot of property damage in the Houston area and if you've experienced a loss and have flood insurance, you should make a claim."
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