Nonprofit Insurance Program

Volunteer Injuries: Is Your Nonprofit at Fault?

By Alexa Connelly
September 26, 2012

Injury is bound to happen everywhere, with everyone, including volunteers in your nonprofit organization. Is your nonprofit responsible if a volunteer gets injured while performing duties at your organization? Well, that is a difficult question to answer but it can be answered with a few factors that should be considered.

Are your volunteers 18 years or older? If not then usually the nonprofit assumes at least some responsibility for the well-being of the volunteer. Have you stated in a written format at the onset of your volunteers duties that the nonprofit will not be held responsible for any injuries to the volunteer? If you have not, this could be means for you to be responsible for any injuries. Does your nonprofit allow the volunteer to choose their own tasks? For example, if you are building a roof for your nonprofit but the volunteer chooses to do that job and gets injured, usually your organization will NOT be held liable for the injury. Finally, are your volunteers trained properly to use the equipment? If not and an injury occurs, you could be held liable. To insure volunteers against the possibility of physical harm incurred while volunteering on behalf of your nonprofit you should consider a volunteer accident injury policy or workers’ compensation coverage. In most instances, your commercial general liability policy will not protect the nonprofit organization against lawsuits filed by volunteers but it usually does protect you if you are sued for an injury a volunteer causes to another being. Always read your commercial general liability policy and be sure that you know and understand exactly what is covered by the insurance policy.

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