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Free legal hotline available to tornado and storm survivors

Missouri residents impacted by recent devastating tornadoes and storms in the Western Missouri communities of Oak Grove, Buckner-Tarsney, Lee’s Summit and Odessa now have access to free legal services through The Missouri Bar’s Disaster Recovery Legal Assistance Hotline and through local resource center events Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Oak Grove and Smithville.

“Volunteer lawyers throughout our state will be assisting callers to the hotline with insurance claims, replacing important legal documents and more to help these storm survivors in their time of need,” said 2016-17 Missouri Bar President Dana Tippin Cutler of Kansas City.

The Missouri Bar activates its Disaster Recovery Legal Assistance Hotline following events or natural disasters in order to aid Missouri communities in need. Those seeking legal assistance should call 1(800)829-4128 – a special toll-free number to receive requests for free legal help.

Volunteer lawyers will help storm survivors with the following:

  • Assistance with medical and property insurance claims
  • Counseling on landlord-tenant and real estate property and mortgage questions
  • Help with home repair contracts and contractors
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster
  • Consumer protections such as price-gouging and avoiding scams in the rebuilding process

All calls are screened and then referred to volunteer lawyers who agree to offer a telephone consultation, providing free legal advice for disaster-related problems. Callers who need representation in court or who have issues requiring fee-generating services will be referred to the appropriate services.

Citizens impacted by Monday night’s tornadoes and severe storms can also receive legal and insurance assistance in-person during a Multi-Agency Resource Center disaster relief event in Oak Grove and Smithville. During the events, Missouri lawyers will be on-site to answer law-related questions surrounding issues and problems created by the storms. Citizens can also receive information related to food stamp replacement, emergency financial assistance, health and wellness and more. Attendees are asked to bring their proof of address.

Oak Grove Multi-Agency Resource Center: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, March 10, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, March 11, at the First Baptist Church Youth Center, 400 SE 14 St., Oak Grove, MO 64075

Smithville Multi-Agency Resource Center: 12:30 to 6:30 p.m., Sunday, March 12, at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 18601 U.S. Hwy 169, Smithville, MO 64089

A Multi-Agency Resource Center is a central location for local and state agencies as well as human service organizations to answer storm victim’s questions and provide information and disaster-related assistance.

The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing attorneys. To achieve its mission, The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit mobar.org and MissouriLawyersHelp.org.

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