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Stop charities and volunteers needing expensive accident liability insurance

Comment 6th July 2010

Charities and more specifically volunteers – village fetes, old traditional events, whatever – are currently dieing a death due to the reality of the need for insurance against negligence claims for accidents.  The rules are exactly as strict as they are for businesses and government organisations.  Volunteers do not want to take the risk of being held liable without insurance. 

I understand the need for some rules, but those without a  profit/governmental drive to do good work need to have disincentives to volunteering removed.  I suggest that rather than the current rules – essentially a 'balance of probabilities' test that an accident should have been avoided by following standard rules, which e.g. involve compulsory 'risk assesments' in advance without which a defence is unlikely to work – non-profit events should only be liable if they have caused an accident through the higher test of recklessness (eg the test for dangerous driving, 'the standard fell far below what would be expected).  This should avoid most if not all of the risk and/or insurance cost.  With a standard rule, those attending would know, and could be reminded, that they take on a level of risk – although in reality not much.

Why does this matter?

It will encourage volunteering and reduce red tape at no cost.

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