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Injuries Caused by Volunteers' Negligence

Organizations can be held responsible for acts of their employees, but not volunteers.

Key point: Under the "respondeat superior" doctrine, employers are responsible for the negligent acts of employees committed within the course of their employment. However, this principle does not apply to the acts of self-employed persons.

• The Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that a church was not responsible for injuries caused by the negligent driving of a volunteer church worker. A man operating a motorcycle sustained permanent injuries when he was struck by a car driven by a church volunteer. The volunteer was a certified public accountant and elected member of the church finance committee, and at the time of the accident was in the process of delivering church financial records to the church treasurer. The motorcycle operator sued the church, arguing that it was responsible for the volunteer's negligence on the basis of the respondeat superior doctrine. Under this ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1994

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