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Legal Clinics Take On Flood of Sandy-Related Claims

Uncounted numbers of residents primarily challenging flood insurance settlement offers.

A home on Indians Avenue in Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy barreled through the barrier island in October. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
A home on Indians Avenue in Long Beach after Hurricane Sandy barreled through the barrier island in October. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

Thousands of home and business owners throughout the tri-state area hit hard during Hurricane Sandy are seeking legal help with issues ranging from disputes with contractors and insurance companies to questions about who was responsible for removing fallen trees. Since the October storm a variety of mobile legal clinics have sprung up to assist them.

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Uncounted numbers of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents are in the process primarily of challenging flood insurance settlement offers that they claim fail to properly cover storm damages, including a Long Beach couple who went to court demanding $3,114 for damages to their boiler, sewer line and garage when their insurance company offered just $273, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the groups providing legal assistance to Sandy-survivors is the Disaster Relief Center, a full-time law clinic based at the Touro Law Center in Central Islip, which has serviced as many as 275 clients since January and talked with some 1,400 people who called their hotline that was established soon after the storm.. Similar groups are Legal Services of New Jersey, the Urban Justice Center, the Legal Aid Society, and the Lawyers Alliance for New York, which all received funds from the Robin Hood Foundation, which distributed about 12 percent of the $70 million raised at a rock concert at Madison Square Garden in December to groups that provide legal assistance.

Said Patricia Salkin, a dean of the Touro Law Center, of the people who apply for emergency aid and have endured the bureaucratic red tape involved in the process:

"There are so many different layers ... and a lot of these people can't afford to hire a private lawyer.”


 

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