Nonprofit organizations and their volunteers work together on just causes, but who is in charge when the word “liability” pops up?
A parent focuses their attention on a phone call when their child is in a crowded swimming pool; a driver makes the decision to try and make a yellow light with a sudden burst of speed. We know these scenarios are the set-up for adverse outcomes, yet, we do them from time to time. What happens when dangerous incidents involve your volunteers for your nonprofit? Your organization may be liable for the resulting injury.
For many nonprofits, volunteers are the lifeblood that allows them to keep operating. But the acts of your volunteers can also lead to devastating liability for the organizations in a personal injury claim. While the law may provide some relief for the negligence of volunteers, these laws vary widely from state to state and so it’s never a good idea to assume that your organization is protected. Just because they aren’t being paid or under your employment, doesn’t mean the law won’t side in their favor.
Under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, a volunteer for a qualified nonprofit generally will not be personally liable for harm caused if:
- They acted within the scope of their responsibilities
- They were properly certified or licensed (if required under the circumstance)
- The harm procured was not caused by negligence and not willful or reckless misconduct
- The harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or another vehicle for which the owner or operator’s license or maintain insurance.
The only way you can protect yourself against liability claims that occur is by knowing that you have the right nonprofit insurance policy. Contact Purves & Associates Insurance Services for all of your insurance needs.