Your volunteers may not be on your payroll, but that doesn’t exempt them from committing acts of liability against your business.
Volunteers in Sacramento, CA are the lifeblood of many nonprofits, but the actions of these volunteers can leave the organization with devastating liability. While the law may provide some defense for the acts of volunteers, these laws vary from state to state and are often misunderstood. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your organization will be protected under these statutes if the person in question is a volunteer.
A nonprofit will not necessarily be able to avoid liability for the negligent acts of its volunteers just because they are not included on the payroll. A volunteer might be able to step into the role of an employee even where there is no employment relationship.
When deciding liability, what is often looked at is the how much the organization has control over the volunteer’s activity. The more dangerous the situation that the volunteer must go through, the more important it is that the nonprofit has provided the necessary training and oversight.
The Volunteer Protections Act of 1997 offers immunity for acts of negligence that were committed by a volunteer during working hours while volunteering for a qualified nonprofit or governmental organization. Under this act, a volunteer for a qualified nonprofit will not be held liable if:
- They acted within the range of responsibilities;
- They were properly certified (if the act required such circumstances);
- The harm was not caused by purposeful or reckless misconduct, nor negligence;
- The damage was not caused by the volunteer operating a vehicle in which they needed an operator’s license.
General liability and Directors and Officers coverage provide the coverage you may need if your organization faces a lawsuit from volunteer negligence. General liability insurance extends to employees and volunteers and will cover the associated costs along with the legal fees.
Contact Purves & Associates Insurance Services. Serving Sacramento, Davis, and surrounding California areas, we will help you find the best commercial insurance coverage to meet your specific needs, all at the right price.