Extreme flooding has devastated parts of Nebraska as heavy rains have mixed with melting snow. Multitudes of people have been ordered to evacuate their home and town. A third of the residents in Norfolk, a hospital and nursing home in Genoa, and residents along the Platte River from Schuyler to Ashland have been ordered to evacuate. In Plattsmouth, a water emergency was declared and residents were told to restrict water usage due to rising floodwaters from the Missouri River. Many roads and highways in Nebraska are closed and bridges/dams are falling. Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an Emergency Declaration on Thursday.
The following are common legal issues that may arise during or after a disaster:
- Insurance Issues including submitting claims, avoiding public adjuster fraud, negotiating insurance settlements, and filing an appeal.
- Government Benefits including applying for benefits and/or filing an appeal for denial of benefits, benefit award disagreement, or overpayment notices.
- Housing (renters) including identifying your rights as a renter of a damaged unit, facilitating communication with your landlord, negotiating early termination of a lease, resolving issues with renter’s insurance claims, and recovering personal items from damaged rental units.
- Housing (owners) including negotiating payments, understanding your options in real estate contracts, and obtaining disaster assistance.
- Contractor Fraud Issues including hiring a contractor and avoiding fraud, reviewing work contracts/estimates, obtaining proper work permits for repairs, passing city inspection, and recognizing and preventing predatory lending.
- Document Recovery including replacing lost documents (driver’s licenses, SS cards, EBT cards, etc.) and replacing immigration documents.
If you are in need of legal assistance in regards to the current flooding, you can apply online by going to lawhelpne.legalaidofnebraska.org or by calling the Disaster Relief Hotline at 1-844-268-5627.
If you are an attorney and want to volunteer to help disaster survivors, please apply here.