Public/Private Legal Preparedness Initiative
Public/Private Legal Preparedness Initiative
A program of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health
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Good Samaritan Entity Liability Protection: Tools for Advocates
Entity Liability Protection--The "Work Around" Approach: Tools for Stakeholders
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Good Samaritan Entity Liability Protection Initiative

Most state Good Samaritan laws provide civil immunity for some individuals acting in good faith to provide assistance in an emergency. These laws were designed to create incentives for individuals to voluntarily come to the aid of others without the fear of liability. 

In the wake of recent catastrophes such as 9/11, SARS, and Hurricane Katrina, states are making a concerted effort to prepare for the next disaster.  The need for government agencies to partner with private and non-profit organizations to maximize response capacity and effectiveness is widely acknowledged. However, most state Good Samaritan laws leave significant gaps of liability exposure for both private and non-profit organizations that are willing to assist government agencies in voluntarily responding to an emergency posed by a natural disaster, emerging infection, or terrorist event. 

The Good Samaritan Entity Liability Protection Initiative was developed to address this pressing gap in liability protection, and to create incentives for private and non-profit entities to join with government agencies as they prepare for, and respond to, the next public health emergency.  The fundamental concept of “entity liability protection” is to provide liability protection for business and non-profit organizations who act in good faith to voluntarily assist government agencies during such emergencies. 

Two approaches to providing entity liability protection have been developed.

  1. Good Samaratin Entity Liability Protection. A legislative toolkit has been developed for advocates of improved emergency preparedness.
    Click here for Tools for Advocates.

  2. Expanding Emergency Liability Protection Within Existing State Laws: The “Work Around” Approach.  Some states are exploring ways to work within existing state laws to ensure that emergency volunteers and entities have broader immunity from liability. This alternative has become known informally as the “Work Around” approach to emergency volunteer liability protection. Efforts underway in Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama have demonstrated progress in developing arrangements for both individuals and entities to become agents of the state during emergency response activities.

    Materials have been developed from the experiences of these three states for those who wish to pursue the “Work Around” approach. Click here for Tools for Stakeholders.

  3. Click here for Status of Emergency Entity Liability Protection by State

The Emergency Volunteer Action Network (EVAN) was established in 2007 to support efforts to improve emergency legal preparedness. Members include stakeholder organizations representing public health, emergency management, business and non-profit entities, professional associations, and academia. For more information on EVAN, click here.

EVAN actively supports the Good Samaritan Entity Liability Initiative as well the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA). UEVHPA was developed by the Uniform Law Commissioners to address licensing, credentialing, liability, and workers’ compensation for individual volunteer healthcare practitioners. Many stakeholders seeking UEVHPA protection are also interested in Good Samaritan Entity Liability Protection. Additional information on UEVHPA can be found at www.uevhpa.org.