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Center for Student Involvement: Liability Protection for Volunteers

Find out about liability and ways to protect yourself when you volunteer for UCSD-sponsored projects, activities, and events.

Facts about volunteering at UCSD:

  • All volunteers everywhere run the risk of physical, emotional, and mental injury, as well as inflicting injuries on others.
  • Before you participate in an activity that puts you or others at risk, you may be asked to sign a waiver, acknowledging that risks are involved in the activity and agreeing not to hold the institution or agency responsible.
  • If you're asked to sign a waiver, you can contact Student Legal Services, (858) 534-4374, if you need help understanding it.

Volunteer Protection Act:

In addition to signing a waiver, you are also protected under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997. This law protects volunteers in these circumstances:

  • The volunteer was acting within the scope of the volunteer's responsibilities in the nonprofit organization or governmental entity at the time of the act or omission.
  • If appropriate or required, the volunteer was properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities for the activities or practice in the state in which the harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken within the scope of the volunteer's responsibilities in the nonprofit organization or governmental entity.
  • 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.
  • The harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle for which the state requires the operator or the owner of the vehicle, craft, or vessel to either (A) possess an operator's license or (B) maintain insurance.

Read more:

See a more detailed list of coverage by the Volunteer Protection Act, and also link to general information.