A bill introduced to the US House of Representatives would give liability protection to architects and engineers who volunteer their services in times of emergency. Except for gross negligence or willful misconduct, when A/E volunteers provide assistance to without expectation of compensation, H.R. 2067 would grant immunity nationwide. This would preempt existing state “Good Samaritan laws.” Thus, if the bill is passed, design professionals won’t have to grapple with state-specific interpretations of the law. In addition, the new bill would cover both individuals as well as their firm. Most state laws currently only cover the individual professional, which leaves the firm at risk for potential claims.
The bill, currently in the House Judiciary Committee, was introduced by Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) currently has bipartisan support, with cosponsors Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), and Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA). You can track the progress of the bill, and read its full text here.
We’ve written a Management Advisory with suggestions for contractual provisions when providing services in emergency situations, you can read it here.