Who is liable if church volunteers are using their own private vehicle to transport kids to and from Bible Study each week?
In most cases when there is a vehicle accident there are liability issues for both the volunteer driver and the church or organization for which they were driving. Liability is not a pre-determined formula, but depends on the legal examination and determination of what happened and who is found to be negligent or at fault.
When a young person is under the care or supervision of a church volunteer, that volunteer has the responsibility to make decisions about safety and to avoid danger as a reasonable and prudent person would do. An important consideration in establishing negligence is whether the accident was caused by conditions that were foreseeable and could have been avoided by taking necessary precautions.
Volunteer drivers and local church/youth organizations can anticipate liability issues and prepare for them. Most often the person who owns and operates the vehicle involved in the accident will be the primary focus of the liability. In most states it is important for volunteers using their vehicle to transport young people to carry at least $100,000/$300,000 liability coverage plus a personal liability umbrella policy.