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Limiting Liability -- Good Samaritan Legislation

Architects are often willing to volunteer their time and services if asked by government agencies to help ensure the preservation of a community’s health, safety, and welfare. During such situations, a licensed architect may be exposed to questions of liability even though he or she is acting in good faith to preserve the safety of a community. While some states have "Good Samaritan" statutes that limit liability for certain volunteers at least in some emergency situations, many have no such protections. Even in states with protection, the AIA recommends that its members contact their state emergency management agencies, establish relationships, and receive appropriate training to volunteer before disaster strikes.  The map below is an illustration of Good Samaritan protection to the best of the AIA’s knowledge. Please note: each state law is different and the statutes cited here are also subject to judicial interpretation. In addition, statutes may change from time to time because of legislative action. This map and the compendium below are for reference only and in no way is expected to take the form of legal advice. Again, please contact your attorney directly if there is a question on a state’s authority to use Good Samaritan laws.

Good Samaritan Legislation – an AIA model policy for Good Samaritan protection and compendium of known state laws

AIA Handbook for basic disaster assistance training.

Checklist of Responsibilities for State Coordinators – State coordinators and their volunteers should take these steps to improve the disaster preparedness of their community

For more information, please contact the Disaster Assistance Program via email or call 202-626-7442.


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