In the wake of the Oregon wildfires that tore across the state in early September and some continue to burn, Oregon’s trial lawyers have established a hotline and pro bono resources to support victims of fire-damaged homes, businesses and property by providing free consultations about insurance claims and next steps.
The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association’s fire support services will answer the phones and travel to fire-ravaged communities to help Oregonians recoup their losses and get back on their feet.
Volunteers are headed to areas most affected by wildfire and most populated by those forced to evacuate. They will help triage and provide legal help and resources to those in need for free. COVID-19 precautions will be strictly adhered to.
Attorney Travis Prestwich headed the efforts in Mill City on Saturday October 3.
“It was great to have the opportunity to meet with many Oregonians who are trying to pick up the pieces and get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible," Prestwich said. "Unfortunately, we met with some folks who have had a terrible experience with their insurance carriers. Adjusters who were pressuring them to a rush decision, rejecting estimates from clean-up crews as too high, trying to force them to find cheaper accommodations, and just generally making things difficult. Our goal is to help people feel empowered to know their rights and resources in the wake of their terrible losses.”
Events are being booked as we speak and here are events scheduled in the coming weeks:
For victims of the Echo Mountain Complex fires in north Lincoln County, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association will set up shop Saturday, Oct. 10 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lincoln City Outlets, suite 410.
No registration needed. Have questions or need more information? Call Adam Springer at Yaquina Law at 541-272-5500, open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The pro bono program is not the trial attorneys’ only response to the tragedy. Oregonians across the state are encouraged to contact the program’s hotline at 800.809.0616 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. or 24/7 at email@example.com. The phones and e-mails will be answered by attorneys and other legal professionals who want to help.
Videos for the public with advice about their insurance claims are available at www.oregontriallawyers.org/fireresources and the hotline will be open Friday, October 9.
Marc Johnston, a Portland-based attorney who is the regional captain for the Clackamas County pro bono effort has spearheaded this project.
“My family and I were part of Phase 2 Clackamas County evacuations. I know just how traumatic and devastating this has been for so many people throughout our state," Johnston said. "As a trial lawyer, my entire life’s work is about helping people. So I knew, there was no question my trial lawyer brothers and sisters would answer the call and volunteer their time to help others. And volunteer they did.
"We have more than 70 attorneys going out into the communities hardest hit by the wildfires and discussing next steps for free with Oregonians in need. We are here to help and if you can’t attend a community event, call the hotline at 800-809-0616.”