Womble Carlyle and Legal Aid Team Up to Assist Hurricane Irene Victims
May 9, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C.—Womble Carlyle and Legal Aid of North Carolina have joined together on a pro bono project to assess the legal needs of Hurricane Irene victims still struggling with insurance claims, construction scams, mortgage-related problems and other relief issues eight months after the storm made landfall last August.
Womble Carlyle and Legal Aid are jointly attempting to determine the status of overall storm recovery efforts and identify patterns of critical legal claims. Households should call Legal Aid’s toll-free Helpline at 1-866-219-5262 to report their disaster-related problems and receive quick information about insurance, FEMA, mortgage issues and other relief claims. Helpline staff will conduct a brief interview, answer questions and help assess the need.
Hurricane Irene, one of the costliest hurricanes on record, struck the Carolina coast in August 2011 causing tornado, wind, and flood damage estimated more than $71 million, not including damage to agricultural businesses. More than 1,100 homes were destroyed and many households still have unresolved claims related to Hurricane Irene damage. Storm victims are also struggling with additional legal problems, like consumer scams, not directly related to damage claims.
“Some of the biggest problems caused by a natural disaster like Irene only surface months after the hurricane leaves the front pages of the newspaper,” said Georgiana Yonuschot, a lawyer at Womble Carlyle. “Claim delays and denials, scams and the like, can be as devastating as the original damage,” she added. “As the news cycle moves on, people have less information just as their thorniest problems are becoming apparent.”
The project will focus on relief issues in the following counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Martin, Northampton, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington.
Sue Perry Cole, director of the North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations, applauded the effort and stated, “It’s gratifying to see one of the biggest corporate law firms and Legal Aid come together in order to evaluate the needs that have arisen in the wake of Hurricane Irene.”
About Womble Carlyle
Womble Carlyle is a full-service business law firm with a focus on innovative solutions to client needs. The firm supports the Association of Corporate Counsel in the ACC Value Challenge, which seeks to better align legal services with the needs of corporate clients.
The firm serves clients nationally and globally with more than 550 attorneys in fourteen offices: Atlanta; Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, S.C.; Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, and Winston-Salem, N.C.; Silicon Valley, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Tysons Corner, Va.; Baltimore; and Wilmington, Del.
In the community, the firm is the first law firm to receive the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Corporate Leadership Award as well as the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award.
About Legal Aid of North Carolina
Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to eligible, low-income residents in all 100 counties of North Carolina. Each year, LANC provides life-altering solutions to critical and basic legal problems for over 30,000 households with annual incomes at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.