Back 

Information for State Volunteer Driver Liability L

Information for State Volunteer Driver Liability Laws, 2006

AlabamaAlaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Guam | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky |Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey |New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | U.S. Federal | Vermont | Virginia | Virgin Islands | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming


Alabama

Alabama Code §6-5-336. Volunteer Service Act.

Summary

The statute provides that any volunteer shall be immune from civil liability in any action on the basis of any act or omission of a volunteer resulting in damage or injury if: (1) The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of such volunteer's official functions and duties for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, hospital, or a governmental entity; and (2) The damage or injury was not caused by willful or wanton misconduct by such volunteer. The statute contains no provision related to volunteer use of motor vehicles.

Comments

Volunteers are used for some government transportation services and for transportation services for seniors. Program operators seemed unaware that the state law may provide protections from liability for all volunteers and were unwilling to test sovereign immunity laws. Operators interviewed stated that they cover volunteers with general insurance policies.


Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 09.65.170 (2005) Limited liability of certain directors and officers

Summary

A member of the board of directors or an officer for a nonprofit organization is immune from tort damages for personal injury, death, or damage to property for an act or omission in the course and scope of their official duties unless:

  • The act or omission constituted gross negligence
  • This statute contains no volunteer driver provision.

Comments

Because no statutes govern the liability of volunteer drivers, it is assumed that volunteer drivers are liable for traffic incidents to the same extent as other drivers. Many organizations that use volunteer drivers have developed their own policies to limit liability including background checks. Drivers may be covered by general insurance policies held by the employing organization.


Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-981 et seq.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-982 et seq.

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person who performs services for a nonprofit corporation, or organization, hospital or governmental agency without compensation, other than for reimbursement for actual expenses. The term also includes a volunteer who serves as a director, officer, trustee or direct service volunteer.
A volunteer is immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of duties
  • The damage or injury was not caused by willful, wanton or grossly negligent misconduct by the volunteer
  • In any suit against a nonprofit corporation or nonprofit organization based on the negligent act or omission of a volunteer, proof that the act or omission committed was within the scope of the volunteer's duties is enough to establish the liability of the organization.

The liability of the insurance carrier with respect to the insured and any other person using the vehicle with the express or implied permission of the insured shall extend to provide excess coverage for a nonprofit corporation or nonprofit organization for the acts of the operator in operating a motor vehicle at all times when the operator is acting as a volunteer for that nonprofit corporation or nonprofit organization.

No provision related to volunteer drivers.

Comments

Interviewed a representative from a local council on aging. The representative believed that volunteer drivers for non-profit organizations would be primarily covered by their individual insurance policies if they were not paid. Secondary insurance would be covered by general insurance policies maintained by the non-profit organization. Arizona's volunteer protection statute did not seem to factor into decisions about liability.

The Regional Transportation Authority and the Pima Council on Aging recently formed a partnership that will provide additional funding for the Neighbors Care program, which provides transportation services to seniors and others in need. The RTA will provide $250,000 annually for the life of the 20-year RTA plan. Funding will be used to enhance existing volunteer-based transportation services and can be used to help insure volunteer drivers.


Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 16-6-101 et seq. (2006) Arkansas Volunteer Immunity Act
Ark. Stat. Ann § 21-13-101 et seq. (2006) State and Local Government Volunteers Act
Code Search

Summary

Volunteer is defined as any person, who of their own free will provides goods or services without financial compensation or through a volunteer agency in connection with a volunteer agency, state agency, state instrumentality, political subdivision, or school district of the State of Arkansas.

A volunteer is not liable for the actions of another in connection with or as a consequence of his or her volunteer activities. A volunteer is not liable in damages for personal injury or property damage sustained by a person who is a participant in, a recipient, consumer, or user of the services or benefits of a volunteer by reason of an act or omission unless:

  • The volunteer is covered by an insurance policy, in which case the damages are limited to the amount of coverage provided
  • The volunteer acts in bad faith or is guilty of gross negligence
  • The volunteer negligently operates a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or other powered mode of conveyance
  • If the volunteer negligently performs a professional service, which the volunteer is licensed under state law to perform, the damages are limited to the volunteer's professional liability insurance coverage provided.
  • Volunteers for the state may be reimbursed for meals, lodging, transportation, liability insurance coverage if:
  • The agency made provisions for such benefits
  • Established proper safeguards for eligibility
  • Determined that there are sufficient funds available to the agency to defray the costs
  • Volunteers for the state are protected by the state's sovereign immunity.

Comments

Interviewed a representative from a non-profit organization that uses approximately 115 volunteer drivers. The representative stated that non-profits in Arkansas do not have to worry about civil liability if they do not accept money to transport individuals unless the traffic incident involves criminal intent or negligence. Volunteer drivers for the organization use their own personal vehicles and are covered by their own personal insurance. The organization attempts to limit potential exposure by examining each volunteer's driving record. The representative thought that the organization's general insurance policy would cover any liability above the insurance of the volunteer driver.


California

Cal. Corporations Code § 5239 (West 2006) Personal liability of volunteer director or officer for negligence
(Note: section 5239 is towards the bottom of the page.)

Summary

A volunteer director or volunteer officer of a nonprofit organization is not personally liable for monetary damages caused by the director's or officer's negligent act or omission in that person's performance of duties as a director or officer if:

  • The act or omission was within the scope of the person's duties
  • The act or omission was committed in good faith
  • The act or omission was not reckless, wanton, intentional, or grossly negligent

The damages caused by the volunteer director or volunteer officer are covered by the nonprofit organization's general liability insurance. If the organization is not covered the director or officer is not personally liable if the organization's board of directors and the director or officer made a good faith effort to obtain available liability insurance.

Automobile insurance policies cannot be issued if they impliedly or expressly exclude coverage for the use of an automobile for the performance of volunteer services for a nonprofit or charitable organization, or a governmental agency.

Comments

Interviewed a representative from a county program that provides transportation services for seniors. Some volunteer drivers for the program use their own vehicles and some use agency vehicles. California does not grant immunity for volunteer drivers. However, volunteers for the agency are covered by supplemental insurance as well as a CIMA insurance policy used nationwide for federally supported volunteer programs. Counties are self-insured and agreements entered into by the county help define liability issues.


Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-115.5 Volunteer service act – immunity – exception for operation of motor vehicle

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person performing services for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital without compensation. A volunteer can be reimbursed for actual expenses.
 

Volunteers serving as a director, officer or trustee are protected from liability under sections 13-21-116 and 13-21-115.7.

A volunteer is immune from civil liability on the basis of their act or omission if:

  • The volunteer is protected under the federal "Volunteer Protection Act," 42 U.S.C. § 14501 et seq.
  • The damage or injury was not caused by misconduct or other circumstances that would preclude immunity from the volunteer under the abovementioned federal law
  • The statute does not provide immunity to organizations for the negligent acts of their volunteers.
  • The statute does not provide immunity to volunteers for injuries or damages arising from the operation of motor vehicle. The amount recovered cannot exceed the amount of insurance coverage the volunteer has.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 4-61hh (West 2006) Volunteers in state government. Definitions
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 4-61ii (West 2006) Volunteer programs within state agencies
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann § 4-61jj (West 2006) Incidental benefits. Fulfillment of experience or training requirements
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann § 4-61kk (West 2006) Exemption from title 5. Compliance with regulations
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 4-61ll (West 2006) Benefits or reimbursements to volunteers
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 4-165 (West 2006) Immunity of state officers and employees from personal liability
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-556 (West 2006) Actions for injuries caused by motor vehicles owned by the state

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person who provides goods or services to any state agency without compensation . Volunteers may be reimbursed for:

  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Transportation costs, including parking, mileage, taxi and bus fares,
  • Use of state vehicles for state use
  • Liability insurance purchased through the State Insurance and Risk Management Board to cover volunteers to the same extent as may be provided for salaried employees
  • Optional training
  • Volunteers enjoy the benefit of state sovereign immunity.
  • Any person who is injured by a motor vehicle operated by the state through the negligence of state official shall have the right of recovery for such injuries.
  • No statute's protect volunteers for nonprofit organizations.

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 § 8133 Limitation from civil liability for certain nonprofit organization volunteers

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a trustee, ex officio, trustee, director, officer, agent, or worker who is engaged in an activity without compensation for a nonprofit organization, or any governmental agency (federal or state).

  • A volunteer can reimbursed for actual expenses.
  • The statute provides protection to volunteers the agency or organization they work for.
  • The statute does not cover liability for negligent act or omission involving the operation of a motor vehicle.
  • The amount recovered cannot exceed the volunteer's limits of applicable insurance coverage.
  • The statute does not cover to any act or omission constituting willful and wanton or grossly negligent conduct.

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 768.1355 (2006) Florida Volunteer Protection Act
Fla. Stat. § 430.204 (2006) Community-care-for-the-elderly core services; departmental powers and duties

Summary

Volunteers shall not be civilly liable for any acts or omissions which results in the personal injury or property damage if:
The volunteer was acting in good faith within the scope of their duties
The injury or damage was not caused by any willful or wanton misconduct
If the volunteer is not liable because of the above, the nonprofit organization for which the volunteer was performing services when the damages were caused shall be liable for them.
The use of volunteers should be maximized to provide services to the elderly. The organizations that use them may provide appropriate insurance coverage to protect them from personal liability while acting within the scope of the duties. The coverage may include excess automobile liability protection.


Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 51-1-42 (2006) Liability of persons providing volunteer transportation for senior citizens

Summary

Volunteer transportation is defined as motor vehicle transportation provided by a person under the direct supervision of a nonprofit organization. The volunteer may receive reimbursement for actual expenses or an allowance to defray the costs of using of operating the vehicle used to provide transportation.

Any person who provides volunteer transportation for senior citizens shall not be civilly liable for injury to the senior citizens arising out of or resulting from the transportation if the driver was acting within good faith, within the scope of her conduct, and the conduct does not amount to willful or wanton conduct.


Guam

Guam Code Chapter 16 (2006) Volunteer Liability Protection Source.

Summary

Volunteer is defined as any person performing services for a nonprofit organization, governmental agency, or an entity that has entered into an agreement with a nonprofit organization to perform pubic or community services who does not receive compensation other than for actual expenses incurred. The term includes a director, officer, trustee or direct service volunteer.
 

A volunteer shall not be liable for any act or omission if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of his or her duties
  • The volunteer was properly licensed, certified or authorized by the appropriate authorities in which the harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken
  • The harm was not caused by the willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights of safety to the individuals harmed
  • The harm was not caused by the operation of a motor vehicle vessel, aircraft or other vehicle
  • Punitive damages cannot be awarded against a volunteer unless the claimant can prove that the harm caused by the volunteer's willful or criminal misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed.
  • A defendant who is a volunteer is liable for the amount of non-economic loss allocated to that defendant in direct proportion to their degree of liability.

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 662D-1 (2006) Definitions
Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 662D-2 (2006) Scope of immunity

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person who performs a service for a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, a hospital, or governmental agency without compensation. The term also includes a volunteer serving as a director, officer, trustee, member or a direct service volunteer.
 

A volunteer is immune from civil liability if:

  • They were acting in good faith and within the scope of their duties
  • The damage or injury was caused by the volunteer's negligent conduct
  • The nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, or hospital has a general liability policy that covers at a minimum of $200,000 per occurrence and at a maximum $500,000 or has total assets (exclusive of grants and allocations) of less than $50,000

The immunity does not apply to:
 

  • Any conduct that can be considered gross negligence, willful or wanton, or intentional misconduct
  • Any act or omission in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Any interference the lawful activities of another
  • Conduct on private property when the volunteers presence is not consented to by the owner
  • Any act or omission within the scope of the volunteer's practice for which the volunteer is licensed, certified, permitted, or registered under state law to perform
  • Any criminal offense committed by the volunteer

Idaho

Idaho Code § 6-1605 (2006) Limitation on Liability of Volunteers, Officers and Directors of Nonprofit Corporations and Organizations

Summary

Any person who serves as a director, officer, or a volunteer for a nonprofit organization shall be immune from civil liability arising from their conduct so long as they were acting within the scope of their duties. Immunity does not apply to:

  • Acts that are willful, wanton, involves fraud or a knowing violation of the law
  • An intentional breach of fiduciary duty or duty of loyalty owed by the officer, director or volunteer
  • Acts or omissions not made in good faith or which involve intentional misconduct, fraud or a knowing violation of the law
  • A transaction where the volunteer, director or officer obtained an improper benefit
  • Damages that arise out the operation of a motor vehicle

The liability of the volunteer cannot exceed either the volunteer's, the nonprofit organization's, the director's or officer's amount of insurance coverage.

Volunteers can be reimbursed for actual expenses.


Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 105 § 108.70 (2006) Limited liability of directors, officers and persons who serve without compensation

Summary

A director, officer, or a volunteer of a nonprofit organization, who serves without compensation, is not liable for damages arising from their exercise of judgment or discretion in connection with their duties. Immunity does not apply of the act or omission involved willful or wanton conduct, or the director earns more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) per year.


Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. § 34-30-4-1 (West 2006) Qualified Director; immunity
Ind. Code Ann. § 34-30-4-2 (West 2006) Volunteer Director; immunity

Summary

A director of a nonprofit organization is immune from civil liability arising from the negligent performance of his or her duties.
 

A volunteer who donates his or her services to a Community Mental Retardation and Other Developmental Disabilities Center, or a nonprofit organization, is immune from civil liability so long as that person exercises reasonable care in the performance of his or duties as a volunteer.


Iowa

Iowa Code § 669.24 (2006) State Volunteers
Iowa Code § 670.2 (2006) Liability Imposed

Summary

A volunteer who provides his or her services to the state government, agency, or state subdivision without compensation is not liable for claims based on acts or omissions except if:

  • The act or omission involved intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of the law, or
  • The volunteer derived an improper personal benefit

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-3601 (2006) Immunity from liability for volunteers of certain nonprofit organizations, limitations

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a director, officer, trustee or other person who performs services for nonprofit organizations but does not receive compensation. Volunteers can be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses that are incurred by during the volunteer's service for the organization.
 

If the nonprofit organization carries general liability insurance then a volunteer is immune from civil liability from any acts or omissions unless:

  • The conduct was willful or wanton or intentionally tortious conduct
  • The volunteer is required by law to be insured or is otherwise insured against acts or omissions
  • Liability for the above mentioned is limited to the amount of general liability insurance coverage.

If a nonprofit organization carries general liability insurance then a volunteer is not liable for any acts or omissions of the organization's directors, officers, trustees, employees, or other volunteers unless:

  • The volunteer authorizes, approves, ratifies or actively participates in the act or omission and the and the act or omission constitutes willful or wanton misconduct or intentionally tortious conduct
  • The volunteer is required by law to be insured or is otherwise insured against acts or omissions
  • Liability for the above mentioned is limited to the amount of general liability insurance coverage.

Kentucky


Ky. Rev. Stat. § 411.200 (2006) Immunity from civil liability of officer, director or trustee of nonprofit organization

Summary

A person who serves as a director, officer, trustee, or volunteer of a nonprofit organization who is not compensated for his or her services is immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury if the person was acting in good faith and within the scope of their official duties, unless the injury or damage was caused by willful or wanton misconduct.


Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2792.3 (2006) Limitation of liability of director, officer, trustee, or volunteer worker for incorporated and unincorporated nonprofit organizations; civic or historical purpose.
La. Rev. Stat. § 9:2792.9 (2006) Limitation of liability of volunteers of area agencies on aging and voluntary councils on the aging; definitions; exceptions

Summary

A person who serves as director, officer, trustee or volunteer is not individually liable for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury arising out of his or her judgment in formulating and implementing policy, or arising out of management of affairs, while acting as director, officer, trustee or volunteer of the nonprofit organization on the condition that the person was acting in good faith within the scope of his or her official duties unless the act or omission could be considered willful or wanton misconduct.

A volunteer is immune from liability arising out of an act or omission resulting in injury, loss or damage while acting in the scope of their official duties except if the injury, loss or damage was caused by the volunteer's willful or wanton misconduct, or the volunteer's gross negligence.

The statute does not provide immunity from a volunteer's acts or omissions while operating a motor vehicle. The amount of civil damages recovered cannot exceed the amount insurance coverage maintained by or on behalf of the volunteer in respect to his or her negligent operation of a motor vehicle.


Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24-A § 2902-F (2006) Volunteer Drivers
Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14 § 158-A (2006) Immunity for charitable directors, officers and volunteers

Summary

A volunteer driver is defined as a person who provides services including transporting persons or goods without compensation, except for expenses incurred. An insurance company cannot refuse to insure a person solely because the person is a volunteer driver. An insurer cannot impose a surcharge or increase the rate of a person because that person is a volunteer driver.  A volunteer is defined as a director, officer, or a person who provides services without compensation, except that the person may be reimbursed for expenses to a nonprofit organization. A volunteer is immune from civil liability for personal injury, property damage, monetary loss, or death when:

  • The cause of action arose from an act or omission which occurred while the volunteer was acting within the course or scope of the nonprofit organization.
  • The cause of action arose from an act or omission not personal to the volunteer, which occurred within the course or scope of the nonprofit organization.
  • The statute does not provide immunity for causes of action arising out of the volunteers' operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other vehicle that the operator is required to have license and insurance.

Maryland

Md. Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. § 5-406 (2006) Agents; personal liability
Md. Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. § 5-407 (2006) Personal liability; charitable organization volunteers

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a director, officer, trustee, or other person who provides services or performs duties for a charitable organization without receiving compensation.
Volunteers are not personally liable for damages in any suit if:

  • The organization maintains insurance covering liability incurred by the organization or its agents or both as a result of acts or omissions of its agents in providing services or performing duties on behalf of the organization
  • The insurance policy covers acts or omissions which are the subject matter of the dispute and there is not a reason for denial of the coverage by the insurance carrier.
  • See the statute for exact coverage amounts

Volunteers are not liable for damages beyond the limits of any personal insurance that the volunteer may have in a suit arising out of any act or omission committed in connection with the services provided to the organization, unless:

  • The volunteer knew or should have known of an act or omission on the part of another volunteer or the volunteer authorizes, approves or actively participates in the act or omission.
  • After the act or omission the volunteer with full knowledge of the act or omission ratifies it.

Volunteers are not liable for damages beyond the limits of any personal insurance that the volunteer may have in a suit arising out of any act or omission committed in connection with the services provided to the organization unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence, reckless, willful, or wanton misconduct or intentionally tortious conduct. Volunteers are liable for damages arising out of suit if it was found that they acted with malice or gross negligence to the extent that the damages exceed the limits on the organization's insurance policy.


Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 231, § 85k (West 2006) Limitation of tort liability of certain charitable organizations; liability of directors, officers or trustees of educational institutions

Summary

Members of charitable organizations are not liable for tort actions arising out of commercial activities carried on to obtain revenue for charitable purposes.

A director, officer, or trustee of a nonprofit educational institution who is not compensated is not liable for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury to another unless the act or omission was willful or wanton.

The statute does not apply to the person's operation of a motor vehicle.


Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 691.1407 (West 2006) Governmental immunity from tort liability

Summary

A volunteer for a governmental agency is immune from tort liability for injury to a person or damage to property caused by that person while acting within his or her scope of employment if all the following are met:

  • The volunteer is acting or reasonably believes he or she was acting within the scope of their authority
  • The agency is engaged in the exercise or discharge of a governmental function
  • The volunteer's conduct does not arise to gross negligence or was not the proximate cause of the injury or damage
  • The states does not have a statute that provides immunity for volunteers of nonprofit organizations.

Comments

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has a state program called the "Specialized Services Program" which provides operating assistance to public and non-profit agencies for transportation services primarily for elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities. Under this program, the funding recipient (i.e., the public or non-profit agency) may also seek from MDOT reimbursements they make to volunteer drivers using their personal vehicle to transport passengers for emergency medical trips provided it does not duplicate available service. One organization mentioned that only a handful of their specialized service providers seek funding from MDOT for volunteer driver services.

Also the organization reimburses their volunteer drivers at $0.29 per mile up to the contract amount. Use of volunteer drivers is eligible if rides are provided for non-emergency medical trips and are available to any elderly individual or individual with a disability in the service area. The local coordinating committee and local transit agency must support the service and the recipient must ensure that the private car is in safe operating condition, and is owned or leased by the volunteer driver; the driver has been licensed for the past five consecutive years with no moving violations within the last two years; and the driver has notified their insurance company that the vehicle will be used for this service.


Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 317A.257 (2006) Unpaid directors; liability for damages

Summary

A volunteer is defined as a director, officer, trustee, member or agent of an organization that is exempt from state income taxation or who serves a nonprofit organization without compensation.
The volunteer is not civilly liable for an act or omission committed in good faith, was within the scope of their employment, and did not constitute willful or reckless conduct.  The statute does not apply to:

  • An action brought by the state for breach of fiduciary duty as a director
  • An action based on a volunteer's express contractual obligation
  • An action based on a breach of public plan fiduciary responsibility

Volunteers can be reimbursed for expenses actually incurred, per diem, and any insurance premiums of a person who was or is a director, officer, trustee, member or agent of the organization.


Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 95-9-1 (2006) Definitions; liability exemption for volunteers; exceptions

Summary

A volunteer is defined as someone who freely provides services, goods or the use of real or personal property or equipment without compensation or charge to a nonprofit organization. Volunteers are allowed to be reimbursed for actual expenses necessarily incurred while working for the organization. Insurance coverage and worker's compensation coverage is not considered monetary compensation.
A volunteer is not vicariously liable for the negligence of another in connection or as a consequence of his or her volunteer activities. A volunteer is not liable for civil damages for any personal injury or property damage caused to a person as a result of the volunteer's act or omissions committed in good faith except if:

  • The act or omission was intentional, willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent
  • The volunteer negligently operated a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat, or other powered mode of conveyance

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.118. 1. (2006) Volunteers, limited personal liability, certain organizations and government entities, exceptions

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person who performs a service for a nonprofit organization or governmental entity who not compensated for his services on a salary or prorated basis. A volunteer is immune from personal liability for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury to any person intended to receive the benefit from the volunteer's service if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and acting within his or her official capacity as a volunteer; or,
  • The damage caused was not the result of the intentional or malicious conduct or by the negligence of the volunteer.

Comments

A religious organization that assists the elderly remarked that they have excess liability through Church Mutual Insurance Company; however drivers are required to have both their own car insurance and RSVP insurance (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). If a driver gets into an accident the drivers insurance will cover up to its limit, then RSVP and then Church Mutual. They do require criminal, motor vehicles, and sexual predator background checks.


Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-732 (2006) Immunity of nonprofit corporation officers, directors, and volunteers

Summary

A volunteer, director or officer of a nonprofit organization is not individually liable for any act or omission made in the course of their official capacity on behalf of the organization.
The immunity does not extend to nonprofit organizations.


Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,188.02 (2006) Volunteer in free clinic or other facility; immunity; when

Summary

A volunteer is defined as a physician, osteopathic physician, pharmacist, dentist, physician assistant, nurse, or physical therapist who donates their time without the expectation of compensation to a medical assistance program; or a volunteer in a free clinic or other facility operated by a nonprofit organization, an agency of the state, or a political subdivision of the state.
 

Volunteers are immune from civil liability for any act or omission which results in damage or injury unless the damage was caused by the willful or wanton act or omission of the volunteer. The immunity granted to volunteers is not extended to:

  • A free clinic operated by a licensed hospital
  • The volunteer has been disciplined by the professional that oversees the volunteers profession in the last five years at the time of the act or omission
  • The damage or injury was caused by the volunteers operation of a motor vehicle, aircraft or boat

Comments

A director for a state wide organization mentioned that they provide their volunteer drivers with excess liability insurance, but was not quite sure if they cover the driver's deductible (because they have never had a driver get into an accident). In order to become a driver with them the driver has to agree to both a criminal and motor vehicle background check.


Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.130 Employee: Volunteer workers in program for public service
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616A.135 Employee: Persons performing volunteer work for private organizations as part of public programs

Summary

A volunteer for the state, a federal assisted organization or for a private nonprofit may be considered by an insurer to be an employee of that organization at the wage of $100 per month.
 

Persons who under a written agreement between a public agency and a private organization to perform private work for a private organization as part of a public program may be considered by an insurer to be an employee of the public agency at the wage of $100 per month.


New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:17 (2006) Volunteers; Nonprofit Organizations; Liability Limited

Summary

A volunteer for a nonprofit agency of for a state entity is immune from civil liability if:

  • The nonprofit agency of state entity can confirm that the person claiming the benefit of immunity was in fact a volunteer
  • The volunteer was acting within his or her official capacity within the organization
  • The damage or injury was not caused by willful, wanton or grossly negligent misconduct

Liability on behalf of a nonprofit organization for damage or injury sustained by a person is limited to $250,000. Damages sustained by persons are limited to $1,000,000. The statute does not cover liability from damages caused by transportation activities.

Comments

One organization mentioned that if a volunteer driver gets into an accident the organization will pay the deductible, the driver's insurance will take over, and anything it does not cover will be covered by the organization's general insurance policy. Since the organization transports people they ask their clientele to sign an agreement that they agree that they will not sue either the organization or the driver for damages resulting from a car accident.


New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2A:53A-7.1 (2006) Volunteers of certain organizations exempt from liability, damages
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2A:53A-7.2 (2006) Limited immunity

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a trustee, director, officer, voluntary member of the nonprofit's board, or a person who provides assistance to any nonprofit organization.

Volunteers are not liable for the damages caused by their actions while acting in their official capacity, unless:

  • The action were committed with reckless disregard for the duties imposed on their position
  • The action caused damage by the willful, wanton, or grossly negligent act or inaction
  • The statute does not cover liability arising from the negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Comments

An organization requires their drivers to have their own car and insurance. If a driver gets into an accident they will cover the driver's deductible, then the driver's insurance will take over, and anything the driver's insurance doesn't cover the organization's general liability insurance will take care of.


New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-4-3 (2006) Definitions
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-4-4 (2006) Granting immunity from tort liability; authorizing exceptions
N.M. Stat. Ann § 41-4-5 (2006) Liability; operation or maintenance of motor vehicles, aircraft and watercraft

Summary

Volunteers are defined as persons who work without compensation on behalf of a governmental entity or a court appointed special advocate program. Volunteers are provided a state defense, unless its covered by an insurance carrier, for:

  • Any tort committed while acting within their official capacity
  • Any violation of property rights or any rights, privileges or immunities granted by the United States Constitution or under the Constitution or laws of New Mexico committed while acting within their official capacity
  • The immunity of the statute does not cover to the liability for damages resulting in bodily injury, wrongful death or property damage caused by the negligence of the volunteer while acting within their official capacity in the operation or maintenance of any motor craft, aircraft or watercraft.

Comments

An organization mentioned that their volunteer drivers have to carry their own insurance and have their own car; however the organization has supplemental insurance that covers above what the driver's insurance does not. The supplemental insurance only covers injury, not property damage.


New York

N.Y. Not-for-Profit Corporation Law § 720-a (McKinney 2005)
N.Y. Public Officers Law § 17 (McKinney 2006)

Summary

Directors, officers or trustees of nonprofit corporations are not liable to persons, other than the corporation, solely for their conduct in running their office unless their conduct can be considered gross negligence or was intended to cause harm to the person asserting liability.

The state will provide for the defense of volunteers participating in state-sponsored volunteer programs if the alleged act or omission was committed while acting within his or her scope of employment.

Comments

One organization in Glen Cove mentioned that they do not insure volunteer drivers and do not provide excess insurance. They explain to their drivers the risks of driving the clients and that the clients can file a claim against their insurance and file an action against them in court for other liabilities.

Another organization mentioned that they also do not insure their volunteer drivers and do not provide excess insurance. If the driver gets into an accident with a client in the car and that passenger is injured it is the driver's insurance company responsibility to pay for the cost of the client's injury.


North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-539.10 Immunity from civil liability for volunteers
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-539.11 Definitions

Summary

Volunteer is defined as a person who provides a service to a charitable nonprofit organization who does not receive compensation or anything of value for the services he or she provides. Volunteers can be reimbursed for expenses incurred. A volunteer who provides services to charitable nonprofit organization is not liable in a civil action for any acts or omissions resulting in injury, death, or loss to person or property if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and the services rendered were reasonable under the circumstances
  • The acts or omissions do not amount to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing
  • If the charitable organization or volunteer has liability insurance the charitable organization or volunteer has waived their liability to the extent of the amount of coverage for the negligence of the volunteer.

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 10-33-48
N.D. Cent. Code § 32-03-45

Summary

A volunteer is not liable in a civil action for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and within his or her official capacity
  • The act or omission does not constitute willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence
  • The statute does not grant civil immunity to a volunteer as a result of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Comments

One statewide senior service mentioned that the organizations under them have all but stopped transporting people to and from certain places because the need has disappeared. Nevertheless, there are people who deliver meals, but they have to carry their own insurance.


Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.38 (2006) Civil immunity of uncompensated volunteers of nonprofit charitable organizations

Summary

Volunteer is defined as an officer, trustee or other person who performs services without compensation for charitable organizations. Charitable organization is defined as an organization that is operated for educational purposes, or a group, institution or society that is organized not to make a profit.
 

A volunteer is not liable in a civil action for the injury, death, or loss to person or property that is the result from the actions or omissions of any of the officers, employees, trustees, or other volunteers unless:

  • The volunteer had prior knowledge of the act or omission, or actively participates in the act or omission
  • After an act or omission on part of the officer, employee, trustee or other volunteer the volunteer, with full knowledge of the act or omission, approves it.
  • A volunteer is not liable in a civil action for the injury, death, or loss to person or property that are the result of the volunteers act or omission unless:
  • The volunteer was a part of conduct that is described above.
  • The volunteer's conduct can be considered willful or wanton misconduct or intentionally tortuous conduct.

Comments

An organization mentioned that their volunteer drivers have to carry their own insurance and have their own car; however the organization has supplemental insurance that covers above what the driver's insurance does not. They also have a policy that allows the organization to pay the driver's deductible if the situation is deemed appropriate by the director.
The organization does background checks, requires a valid Ohio driver's license and three references.


Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 76 § 31 (2006) Volunteers, charitable organizations, and not-for-profit corporations - Immunity from civil liability - Limitations
Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 19 § 168 (2006) Volunteer - Protection of sovereign immunity - Travel and training expenses

Summary

Volunteers who provide services to a county are protected under the state's sovereign immunity. These volunteers can be reimbursed for expenses incurred during travel, or training.
 

A volunteer for a charitable organization or for a nonprofit organization is immune from civil liability if the volunteer's act or omission was:

  • Based on the good faith and within the volunteer's scope of official duty
  • The damages or injury was not caused by the volunteer's gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct
  • The statute does not affect the ability to sue a charitable or nonprofit organization. For the actions of a volunteer.
  • The statute does not affect the liability of a volunteer arising out of the use of a motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft in rendering the service, care, assistance, advice or other benefit as a volunteer.

Comments

A religious organization reported that they are able to insure their drivers through Church Mutual Insurance Company, which insure only worship centers and related organizations. If a driver gets into an accident their insurance company will pay for the costs so long as the driver was acting in his or her official capacity, has a valid Oklahoma driver's license, and has a clean driving record.


Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.475 et seq. Volunteers Transporting Disabled and Older Persons

Summary

A volunteer's liability is limited if providing transportation to disabled person or persons fifty-five years of age or older. Disabled is defined as a person having a physical or mental disability that results in that person being functionally limited in:

  • Self-care
  • Ambulation
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Socialization, or
  • Employment
The statute provides limits on how much the transportation service's liability can cover in the event of:
  • Bodily injury to or death the one person the transportation service was being provided
  • Bodily injury to or death of two or more persons the transportation service was being provided
  • Injury or destruction of the property of one or more of the person's to whom the transportation services were being provided
  • The limitations on liability do not apply to transportation services provided to 17 or more people at one time and are disabled or fifty-five years or older.'
  • The limitation of liability applies to:
  • The person who provides or sponsors the transportation services
  • The owner of the vehicle who provides the transportation service
  • The person who operates the vehicle for the transportation service
  • The limitation of liability only applies under these conditions:
  • The person driving must have a valid Oregon driver's license
  • The person driving must provide the services on a nonprofit and voluntary basis; however, the driver can be reimbursed for actual expenses
  • The person driving cannot receive from the persons utilizing the services any substantial benefit in a material or business sense that is a substantial motivating factor for providing the transportation.

A donation or contribution to the transportation service provider (not operator of vehicle) is allowed. The transportation services have to be provided free of cost to the persons utilizing the service. The statute does not apply to an accident or injury if it was caused intentionally or caused by the operator's gross negligence or intoxication.

Comments

One organization requires that drivers provide their own cars and their own insurance, and does not provide insurance above what the driver's insurance does not cover for an accident.


Pennsylvania

Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. tit. 42 § 8332.4 Volunteer-in-public-service negligence standard.

Summary

Volunteers either for nonprofit organizations or for the state will not be held liable for their acts or omissions unless:

  • The volunteer's conduct fell substantially below generally recognized conduct in like circumstances by similar volunteers, or
  • The volunteer did an act or omitted doing an act under which the volunteer was under a recognized duty to perform knowing that such act or omission would create a substantial risk to personal injury or property damage.

It is not enough to show that the volunteer's conduct fell below ordinary standards of care to prove liability.  The statute does not provide freedom of liability from acts or omissions relating to the transportation of participants in to a public service program.  The statute does not modify the doctrine of assumption of risk or contributory fault on the part of the volunteer.

Comments

One organization that uses volunteer drivers requires that the drivers provide their own insurance and they use their own car; however, they do hire drivers to do most of the driving, who are covered under the organization's insurance.


Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-31.1 Members of public bodies – Exemption from liability.

Summary

A volunteer, also known as a Qualified Member, is a person who serves a branch, department, division, agency, commission, committee, board, council, bureau, authority, or any subdivision thereof of state government or any other public agency or public body corporate of the state without compensation.  A volunteer will not be liable for any breach of his or duties, unless:

  • The act or omission was not made in good faith or involved intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of the law
  • If the volunteer obtained improper personal benefits
  • The act was malicious, willful or wanton

Comments

One organization requires that volunteer drivers be twenty-five years or older and be able to pass a police background check in order to drive. If the volunteer driver is between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four the organization provides insurance coverage through a local insurance company above the driver's liability for any accident caused by the volunteer driver. For drivers fifty-five years and over the driver is covered above and beyond his or her own insurance through a private insurance company since the organization is a part of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).


South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 8-25-10 et seq. (Law. Co-op 2006)

Summary

A volunteer is defined as a person who provides good and services without any financial gain to any agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of the state. Volunteers are allowed to be reimbursed as the department deems appropriate.  Liability insurance may be provided to the same extent as to state employees.

The government is not liable for any loss resulting from any acts or omissions on the part of a volunteer for the South Carolina Protection and Advocacy System for the Handicapped who is acting within the scope of their responsibilities and the act or omission was done or made in good faith and does not constitute gross negligence, recklessness, or willful or wanton misconduct.

Comments

An organization mentioned that their volunteer drivers have to carry their own insurance and use their own car; however the organization has supplemental insurance that covers above what the driver's insurance does not. The supplemental insurance only covers injury, not property damage.


South Dakota

 S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 47-23-28 et seq. (2006).
§ 47-23-29
§ 47-23-30

Summary

The term volunteer includes anyone performing a service for nonprofit organization, or a governmental agency who does not receive compensation other than for reimbursement for expenses incurred. It also includes the director, officer or trustee of the organization who works without compensation. Any volunteer is not liable for any act or omission resulting in damage or injury if:

  • The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of his or her employment
  • The damage or injury was not caused by willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence on the part of the volunteer
  • No immunity is provided for a volunteer causing personal injury or death while operating a motor vehicle.
  • If the volunteer, nonprofit organization or governmental agency participates in a risk sharing pool or purchases liability insurance the immunity provided is waived and cannot be raised as a defense. This does not apply to a director, officer or trustee of the organization.

Comments

One organization surveyed requires that all volunteer drives have insurance, a valid driver's license and be able to pass a background check. The organization did not provide insurance above what the driver's insurance would provide in case of an accident.


Tennessee


Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-310 (2006) Findings of fact; claim restrictions; indemnity; volunteers
Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20-403 (2006) Liability Insurance

Summary

In order to find a governmental agency liable for damages the court must find that the government's employee was negligent, the proximate cause of the damages and that the employee was acting within his or her scope of employment.

No governmental employee may be sued for damages if the government was given statutory immunity, unless the damages were a result of medical malpractice. If the claim brought has not been removed or the claim is medical malpractice then the damages sought cannot exceed the statutory provision in § 29-20-403, unless the act or omission was willful, malicious, criminal, or performed for personal financial gain.

Local governments may elect to insure their employees for claims for which they are immune; however, that amount cannot exceed the statutory provision in § 29-20-403.

Volunteers are defined as persons who donate their time to a governmental agency at the request of the entity and under the supervision and under the direction of an agency's employee.  Local governments may elect to insure their volunteers for claims for which they are immune; however, that amount cannot exceed the statutory provision in § 29-20-403. The volunteer is liable for anything exceeding the aforementioned amount.

Comments

One organization interviewed insure their volunteer drivers. The organization pools the cost with its branch office, and other offices in the region. In order to drive the volunteer has to be twenty-one years of age or older and has to be able to pass a driver's license background check.


Texas

Tex. Charitable Immunity and Liability Code Ann. § 84.001 et seq.

Summary

  • Volunteers are immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in death, damage or injury if the volunteer was acting within his or her official capacity within the nonprofit organization.
  • The definition of volunteer also includes the director, officer or trustee of the organization who does not receive compensation.
  • The nonprofit organization is defined as any organization formed under Section 501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(4), but excludes fraternities, sororities, or secret societies. The statute also provides immunity from civil liability to volunteer health care providers while volunteering for a nonprofit organization if:
    • The act or omission was committed during the course of providing health care to a patient
    • The act or omission was within the scope of the volunteer's license
    • The patient signed a waiver acknowledging that the volunteer is not receiving compensation, the limitations on receiving damages from the volunteer,
  • A volunteer is liable to a person for death, damage, or injury to the person or his or her property proximately caused by an act or omission resulting from the use of motor-driven equipment, including an airplane.
  • A volunteer is liable for an act or omission that is intentional, willfully negligent, or done with conscious disregard for the safety of others.
  • Liability of a nonprofit organization for an act or omission of an employee of the organization is limited to $500,000 for each person, $1,000,000 for each single occurrence of bodily injury or death and $100,000 for each single occurrence for injury or destruction of property.
  • Religious charitable organizations that own or lease a motor vehicle are not liable for damages arising from the negligent use of the vehicle by someone the organization entrusted to use that vehicle to provide transportation services to persons:
    • Who receive financial assistance under Chapter 31 of the Texas Human Resources Code
    • Nutritional Assistance under Chapter 33 of the Texas Human Resources Code
    • Are participating in or are applying to participate in a work or employment activity under Chapter 31 of the Texas Human Resources Code
    • Is a recipient of food stamp employment and training program
  • Transportation includes transportation to and from:
    • work, employment, or any training activity or program; or
    • A provider of any child-care services necessary for the person to participate in the work, employment, or training activity or program.
  • There is no immunity for the driver if he or she is intoxicated.
  • The immunity will only apply to those nonprofit organizations that have liability insurance coverage for 500,000 for each person, $1,000,000 for each single occurrence of bodily injury or death and $100,000 for each single occurrence for injury or destruction of property.

Comments

At one organization, volunteer drivers must carry insurance. However, the organization also provides insurance. Secured organizations in the region polled funds to provide coverage.


Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 78-19-1 et seq. (2006).
§ 78-19-2
§ 78-19-3

Summary

 

  • A volunteer is any person, performing services for a non-profit organization who does not receive compensation, except for reimbursements. The definition also includes directors, officers, and trustees of the organization that does not receive compensation for their services.
  • Volunteers are immune from liability arising from any act or omission while acting in their official capacity if the volunteer was acting in good faith or the damage was not caused by willful or wanton misconduct.
  • The immunity does not apply to:
    • The operation of a motor vehicle, a vessel, aircraft or other vehicle for which a pilot or operator's license is required
    • A suit brought by the state to enforce a state or federal law
    • If the nonprofit organization does not provide a financially secure source of recovery (insurance) for people who suffer injuries as a result of a volunteer's actions on behalf of the organization.
  • The statute does not require the nonprofit organization to financially secure source of recovery.
  • A nonprofit organization is not liable for the acts or omissions of its volunteers if the nonprofit organization had, or reasonably should have had notice that the volunteer was unfit to provide services to the nonprofit organization that makes the nonprofit organization's use of the volunteer reckless or wanton or a business employer would not be liable under the laws of the state if the act or omission were the act or omission of businesses employee.

Comments

One organization requires that drivers provide their own cars and their own insurance, and does not provide supplemental insurance.
 


U.S. Federal

42 USCA § 14501 et seq. (2006) Volunteer Protection

Summary

  • The federal law preempts state laws that are inconsistent with the federal law, but state laws that provide additional protections shall not be preempted.
  • The federal law will not apply in civil actions in State courts against a volunteer where all parties are citizens of the state if the state enacts legislation if the state cites the authority of the federal law.
    • A volunteer is not liable for harm caused by an act or omission if:
    • The volunteer was acting within his or her official capacity in the nonprofit organization or governmental agency
    • If appropriate, the volunteer was properly licensed in which the harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken and within the scope of the volunteer's duties.
    • The harm was not caused by willful or wanton misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the person harmed.
  • The harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle where the state requires an operator's license or maintain insurance
    • These conditions imposed on volunteer liability in state laws will not be construed as inconsistent with the federal law:
    • The state law requires a nonprofit organization to adhere to risk management procedures, including mandatory training
    • The state law that makes the organization liable for the acts or omissions of its volunteers to the extent as an employer is liable for its employees
    • The state law makes a limitation on liability if a civil action is brought against the volunteer by the State government
  • The state enacts a limitation of liability only if the nonprofit organization provides a financially secure source of recovery, like an insurance policy.
  • Punitive damages cannot be awarded against a volunteer if he or she was acting within their scope of responsibility unless the claimant can show by clear and convincing evidence that the volunteer's actions were willful or criminal misconduct or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed.
  • Volunteers are responsible for the proportion of noneconomic loss they cause.

Vermont

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 29 § 1403 (2006). Waiver of immunity by municipal corporations and counties.

Summary

  • Directors, officers, and trustees of any non-profit organization will not be held liable for:
    • Any act or omission within their official capacity, unless it that act or omission constitutes gross negligence or an intentional tort.
    • Any act or omission of any employee of the non-profit organization
    • Any act or omission of another director, officer or trustee.
  • This immunity does not protect the director, officer, or trustee from liability from damages which resulted from operation of a motor vehicle.
  • If a municipal corporation or a county purchase liability insurance they waive their sovereign immunity to the extent of the coverage of the policy.

Comments

One organization requires that drivers provide their own cars and their own insurance; however does provide insurance above what the driver's insurance does not cover for an accident.


Virginia

Va. Code § 2.2-3600 (2006)
§ 2.2-3601
§ 2.2-3602
§ 2.2-3605

Summary

  • Volunteer is defined in the statute as a person who does not earn compensation for his or her work for an agency, instrumentality, or a political subdivision of the state.
  • All volunteers are exempted from all provisions of law relating to state employment, hours of work, rate of compensation, leave time, and employee benefits; however they are not exempted from applicable work rules.
  • Volunteers are allowed incidental reimbursements. For example, transportation costs, lodging, and meals.
  • Volunteers are allowed to drive state owned vehicles.
  • Liability insurance can be provided by the state agency, instrumentality or political subdivision to part-time or full time volunteers.
  • Volunteers are protected by the state's sovereign immunity.
  • Directors, partners, members, managers, trustees and officers of any non-profit organization are immune for civil liability when acting in their official capacity.
  • If a compensated director, partner, member, manager, trustee or officer is sued the damages cannot exceed the amount he or she is compensated over a twelve month period.
  • The director, partner, member, manager, trustee or officer immunity does not cover willful misconduct, a knowing violation of the criminal law, or the operation of a motor vehicle.
  • There is not an immunity statutory provision for volunteers who do not work for an agency, instrumentality, or a political subdivision of the state.

Comments

One organization mentioned that if the volunteer is going to be driving one of the organization's vehicles then they do provide that person with insurance, however the majority of the time the volunteer is driving his or her own vehicle, thereby providing his or her own insurance.


Virgin Islands

§ 42. Immunity in emergency and other cases

Summary

The statute can be broadly interpreted in the fact that it covers all civil liability to volunteers who "render counseling, advocacy, support, or other services (emphasis added). This could be interpreted to mean that volunteer drivers are immune to civil damages, personal injuries, or property damage.


Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.24.670 Liability of volunteers of nonprofit or governmental entities

Summary

  • Volunteers are not liable:
    • If the volunteer was acting within the scope of her duties, or
    • If the volunteer was properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities for the activity she was performing, or
    • If the harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer, or
    • If the harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle, or
    • If the non-profit organization has public liability insurance for harm caused by others for which it is directly or vicariously liable of not less than:
      • Organizations with gross revenues of less than $25,000, at least $50,000 due to the bodily injury or death of one person or at least $100,000 due to the bodily injury or death of two or more persons
      • Organizations with gross revenues of $25,000 or more but less than $100,000, at least $100,000 due to the bodily injury or death of one person or at least $200,000 due to the bodily injury or death of two or more persons
      • Organizations with gross revenues of $100,000 or more, at least $500,000 due to bodily injury or death
  • The statute leaves the non-profit organization or the state the option to be able to sue the volunteer

Comments

One organization requires that volunteer drivers carry the Washington auto insurance minimum. The organization has a general insurance policy that covers anything above the limits of the driver's insurance in case the driver causes an accident. The organization does both a crime against person's background check and a driver's license background check. The director was not aware of the volunteer liability statute. See http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/transit/vdg/default.htm: Volunteer Drivers - A Guide to Best Practices.


West Virginia


W. Va. Code § 55-7C-1 et seq. (2006)
§ 55-7C-2

Summary

  • The Immunity from Civil Liability for Qualified Directors of Certain Governmental and Nonprofit Entities Article only grants limited immunity to qualified directors of non-profit organizations.
  • A qualified director is defined as an uncompensated officer, member or director of a board, commission, committee, agency or other nonprofit organization.
  • The qualified director cannot be held liable for any act or omission in performance of their managerial functions; however this does not cover gross negligence in the performance of his or her duties.
  • The immunity does not cover immunity for negligent use of an automobile.
  • A provision for ordinary volunteer service is non existent.

Comments

An organization mentioned that volunteer drivers have to be self insured and have to use their own cars.


Wisconsin


Wis. Stat. Ann. § 181.0670 et seq. (West 2006)

Summary

  • A volunteer is anyone, other than an employee, working for a corporation without any type of compensation.
  • A volunteer is not liable to any person for damages, settlements, fees, fines, penalties or other monetary liabilities from any act or omission unless the person seeking liability can show that:
  • The act or omission was a violation of criminal law, or
  • The act or omission was willful misconduct, or
  • If the volunteer was a director or officer of the corporation acting within her capacity, or
  • If the volunteer received any sort of compensation for the duties performed, or
  • The volunteer was negligent in the practice of a profession, trade or occupation, and the volunteer did not have the required credential, license, registration, certificate, permit or approval at the time of the act or omission.
  • The statute does not apply to:
  • A civil or criminal suit brought by or behalf of the government
  • A violation of state and/or federal law where a cause of action is created by state or federal statute.
  • The negligent operation of an automobile, truck, train, airplane or other vehicle for which an operator's permit, license or insurance is required by a volunteer.

Comments

An organization mentioned that their volunteer drivers have to carry their own insurance and have their own car; however the organization has supplemental insurance that covers above what the driver's insurance does not. The supplemental insurance only covers injury, not property damage. The volunteer drivers are required to pass a general background check and have a valid Wisconsin driver's license.


Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 1-1-125 (2006) Immunity for volunteers; volunteer firefighters.

Summary

  • Volunteers can be compensated for actual and necessary expenses incurred while performing their duties as a volunteer for any non-profit organization. Further, any incidental privileges received while performing their duties is not considered compensation.
  • The volunteer is only immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in any damage or injury while the volunteer was:
    • Acting within the scope of his duties as a volunteer, and
    • Her acts were not willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence.
  • The statute does not grant immunity to a volunteer from liability if the volunteer was negligent in the operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Proof of the act or omission is sufficient to bring a suit against the non-profit agency under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Comments

An organization that uses volunteer drivers requires them to provide their own car and insurance. The organization's general insurance policy covers anything the driver's insurance would not cover if the driver got into an accident and any medical expenses.

 

Share this: 
NCSL Summit 2014
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures