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13-21-115.5. Volunteer service act - immunity - exception for operation of motor vehicles - short title - legislative declaration - definitions.

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(1) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Volunteer Service Act.

(2) The general assembly finds and declares that:

(a) The willingness of volunteers to offer their services has been increasingly deterred by a perception that they put personal assets at risk in the event of tort actions seeking damages arising from their activities as volunteers;

(b) The contributions of programs, activities, and services to communities is diminished and worthwhile programs, activities, and services are deterred by the unwillingness of volunteers to serve as volunteers of nonprofit public and private organizations;

(c) It is in the public interest to strike a balance between the right of a person to seek redress for injury and the right of an individual to freely give time and energy without compensation as a volunteer in service to the community without fear of personal liability for acts undertaken in good faith absent willful and wanton conduct on the part of the volunteer; and

(d) The provisions of this section are intended to encourage volunteers to contribute their services for the good of their communities and at the same time provide a reasonable basis for redress of claims which may arise relating to those services.

(3) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) Nonprofit corporation means any corporation which is exempt from taxation pursuant to section 501(a) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. sec. 501(a), as amended, or which is listed as an exempt organization in section 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. sec. 501(c), as amended. The term includes a not-for-profit corporation.

(b) Nonprofit organization means any organization which is exempt from taxation pursuant to section 501(a) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. sec. 501(a), as amended, or which is listed as an exempt organization in section 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. sec. 501(c), as amended, and any homeowners association, as defined in and which is exempt from taxation pursuant to section 528 of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. sec. 528.

 

(c) (I) Volunteer means a person performing services for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital without compensation, other than reimbursement for actual expenses incurred. The term excludes a volunteer serving as a director, officer, or trustee who shall be protected from civil liability in accordance with the provisions of sections 13-21-116 and 13-21-115.7.

(II) Volunteer includes:

(A) A licensed physician, a licensed physician assistant, and a licensed anesthesiologist assistant governed by article 240 of title 12 performing the practice of medicine, as defined in section 12-240-107, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(B) A licensed chiropractor governed by article 215 of title 12 performing chiropractic, as defined in section 12-215-103 (4), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(C) A registered direct-entry midwife governed by article 225 of title 12 performing the practice of direct-entry midwifery, as defined in section 12-225-103 (3), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(D) A licensed nurse governed by the Nurse and Nurse Aide Practice Act, article 255 of title 12, performing the practice of practical nursing or the practice of professional nursing, as defined in section 12-255-104 (9) and (10), respectively, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(E) A registered advanced practice nurse governed by the Nurse and Nurse Aide Practice Act, article 255 of title 12, performing nursing tasks within the scope of the persons nursing license and performing advanced practice under authority granted by the state board of nursing pursuant to sections 12-255-111 and 12-255-112 as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(F) A licensed volunteer nurse governed by the provisions of part 1 of article 255 of title 12 performing volunteer nursing tasks within the scope of the persons nursing license, as described in section 12-255-115, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(G) A certified nurse aide governed by the provisions of article 255 of title 12 performing the practice of a nurse aide, as defined in section 12-255-104 (8.5), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(H) A licensed nursing home administrator and registered nursing home administrator-in-training governed by the provisions of article 265 of title 12 performing the practice of nursing home administration, as defined in section 12-265-103 (5), and the training of an administrator-in-training, as described in section 12-265-109, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(I) A licensed optometrist governed by the provisions of article 275 of title 12 performing the practice of optometry, as defined in section 12-275-103, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(J) A licensed physical therapist governed by the Physical Therapy Practice Act, article 285 of title 12, performing physical therapy, as defined in section 12-285-104 (6), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(K) A licensed respiratory therapist governed by the Respiratory Therapy Practice Act, article 300 of title 12, performing respiratory therapy, as defined in section 12-300-104 (3), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(L) A licensed psychiatric technician governed by the provisions of article 295 of title 12 performing the practice as a psychiatric technician, as defined in section 12-295-103 (4), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(M) A licensed psychologist governed by the provisions of article 245 of title 12 performing the practice of psychology, as defined in section 12-245-303, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(N) A licensed social worker and licensed clinical social worker governed by the provisions of article 245 of title 12 performing social work practice, as defined in section 12-245-403, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(O) A licensed marriage and family therapist governed by the provisions of article 245 of title 12 performing marriage and family therapy practice, as defined in section 12-245-503, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(P) A licensed professional counselor governed by article 245 of title 12 practicing professional counseling as defined in section 12-245-603 as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(Q) A licensed pharmacist governed by article 280 of title 12 performing the practice of pharmacy, as defined in section 12-280-103 (39), as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital;

(R) A licensed dentist or dental hygienist governed by article 220 of title 12 performing the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene, as defined in section 12-220-104 and as described in section 12-220-305, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital; or a dentist or dental hygienist who holds a license in good standing from another state performing the practice of dentistry or dental hygiene, as defined in section 12-220-104 and as described in section 12-220-305, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital pursuant to section 12-220-302 (1)(j); and

(S) A licensed or certified addiction counselor governed by article 245 of title 12 performing addiction counseling, as defined in section 12-245-803, as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization, a nonprofit corporation, a governmental entity, or a hospital.

(III) The nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital for which a volunteer performs shall annually verify that the volunteer holds an unrestricted Colorado license, registration, or certification to practice his or her respective profession.

 

(4) (a) Any volunteer shall be immune from civil liability in any action on the basis of any act or omission of a volunteer resulting in damage or injury if:

(I) The volunteer is immune from liability for the act or omission under the federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, as from time to time may be amended, codified at 42 U.S.C. sec. 14501 et seq.; and

(II) The damage or injury was not caused by misconduct or other circumstances that would preclude immunity for such volunteer under the federal law described in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a).

(III) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2006, p. 531, 1, effective July 1, 2006.)

 

(b) (I) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (b), nothing in this section shall be construed to bar any cause of action against a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital or change the liability otherwise provided by law of a nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital arising out of an act or omission of a volunteer exempt from liability for negligence under this section.

(II) A nonprofit organization, nonprofit corporation, governmental entity, or hospital that is formed for the sole purpose of facilitating the volunteer provision of health care shall be immune from liability arising out of an act or omission of a volunteer who is immune from liability under this subsection (4).

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, a plaintiff may sue and recover civil damages from a volunteer based upon a negligent act or omission involving the operation of a motor vehicle during an activity; except that the amount recovered from such volunteer shall not exceed the limits of applicable insurance coverage maintained by or on behalf of such volunteer with respect to the negligent operation of a motor vehicle in such circumstances. However, nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of a plaintiff to recover from a policy of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage available to the plaintiff as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

History

History.
Source: L. 92: Entire section added, p. 278, 1, effective July 1. L. 99: (3)(c) and (4)(a) amended, p. 399, 1, effective April 22. L. 2006: (3)(c), (4)(a), and (4)(b) amended, p. 531, 1, effective July 1. L. 2007: (4)(a)(I) amended, p. 2025, 26, effective June 1; (3)(c)(II)(R) amended, p. 691, 2, effective August 3. L. 2008: (3)(c)(II)(S) added, p. 426, 26, effective August 5. L. 2009: (3)(c)(II)(B) amended,(SB 09-167), ch. 366, p. 1924, 11, effective June 1. L. 2011: (3)(c)(II)(C) amended,(SB 11-088), ch. 283, p. 1269, 14, effective July 1; (3)(c)(II)(P) and (3)(c)(II)(S) amended,(SB 11-187), ch. 285, p. 1326, 67, effective July 1. L. 2012: (3)(c)(II)(Q) amended,(HB 12-1311), ch. 281, p. 1617, 34, effective July 1; (3)(c)(II)(A) amended,(HB 12-1332), ch. 238, p. 1059, 14, effective August 8. L. 2019: (3)(c)(II) amended,(HB 19-1172), ch. 136, p. 1664, 71, effective October 1. L. 2020: (3)(c)(II)(D), (3)(c)(II)(E), (3)(c)(II)(F), and (3)(c)(II)(G) amended,(HB 20-1183), ch. 157, p. 699, 50, effective July 1; (3)(c)(II)(F) amended,(HB 20-1216), ch. 190, p. 878, 20, effective July 1; (3)(c)(II)(R) amended,(HB 20-1056), ch. 64, p. 262, 5, effective September 14.

Annotations

Editors note: Amendments to subsection (3)(c)(II)(F) by HB 20-1183 and HB 20-1216 were harmonized.

Cross references:

For the legislative declaration in HB 20-1216, see section 1 of chapter 190, Session Laws of Colorado 2020.

ANNOTATION

The immunity granted pursuant to this section extends to an unlimited variety of volunteer activities and applies to injury claims by third parties, but protects only individual volunteers. In contrast, the immunity granted in 13-21-116 extends only to volunteers who assist specifically with youth programs and sporting activities and does not apply to claims by third parties, but protects corporate as well as individual volunteers. Jones v. Westernaires, Inc., 876 P.2d 50 (Colo. App. 1993), overruled in Concerned Parents of Pueblo, Inc. v. Gilmore, 47 P.3d 311 (Colo. 2002).