Volunteers or employees: which are they?Volunteers can be valuable assets to many camps and nonprofit organizations Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. . They also require that camps examine a number of legal and risk management issues. When volunteers and camp employees perform the same services, the camp faces a unique risk management challenge that it should address in its policy and procedures manual.
For example, the buildings and grounds committee of a nonprofit organization might sponsor a work weekend to paint buildings or make needed repairs. While their contributions are helpful, they create additional risks for the organization.
In many cases, the rules and safety practices that apply to employees should also apply to volunteers. Volunteers' exposure to injuries is the same as regular employees'. The camp should give volunteers appropriate training. Never assume that volunteers or employees know how to operate equipment such as chain saws, circular saws, and similar equipment.
Risk management issues
A variety of issues can develop when a volunteer is injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
3. . Will you be able to provide the same quick response to accidents that you offer during the camp season? Does the volunteer have health insurance? How will the volunteer pay for his or her hospital medical expenses? While most health insurance companies pay for emergency treatment, some set limitations on which physicians can be used. How will you handle covering the medical bills if the volunteer has unreimbursed medical expenses? Will the injury cause the volunteer to lose work time? If so, does the camp or the volunteer carry disability income insurance?
Using volunteers also presents hidden risks. Often, the camp will offer the volunteers some type of remuneration REMUNERATION. Reward; recompense; salary. Dig. 17, 1, 7. for their time and effort, usually room and board. While this practice seems only fair, it could result in the volunteers' being considered employees under your Workers' Compensation workers' compensation, payment by employers for some part of the cost of injuries, or in some cases of occupational diseases, received by employees in the course of their work. insurance.
Employees in nearly all states in the country can file Workers' Compensation claims against their employers. Workers' Compensation pays for lost wages, medical expenses, and rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy. . Coverage is usually fairly liberal under your general liability policy and in most instances, it helps to prevent a lawsuit. Although the Workers' Compensation system is cumbersome cum·ber·some
1. Difficult to handle because of weight or bulk. See Synonyms at heavy.
2. Troublesome or onerous.
cum and expensive, it may be more efficient and less expensive than a lawsuit in the long run.
Although there are exceptions, a rule of thumb applies. If volunteers are injured while performing work for the camp, they are likely to be considered employees. This situation can pose a financial risk to the camp by requiring an additional unbudgeted premium under your Workers' Compensation policy, which could be sizeable. Incurring in·cur
tr.v. in·curred, in·cur·ring, in·curs
1. To acquire or come into (something usually undesirable); sustain: incurred substantial losses during the stock market crash.
2. a claim against your Workers' Compensation policy might adversely impact your experience modification or result in a claim against your general liability policy.
Some camp directors are confident that volunteers will not pursue a legal remedy A legal remedy is the means by which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order to impose its will. In Commonwealth common law jurisdictions and related jurisdictions (e.g. against their camp if injured while volunteering. While this assumption may hold true for volunteers who sustain minor injuries, this perception might not be true for those with serious injuries.
Covering volunteer injuries
Most volunteer injuries are minor. Those injuries involving only medical claims should be covered by a volunteer accident medical policy. Such policies are relatively inexpensive. Although limits per accident vary among insurers, limits of $25,000 are probably appropriate in most instances. Incidents resulting in volunteer injuries should always be reported to your insurance company through your agent.
If the injury is serious, the volunteer will usually file a claim against one or more of your insurance policies. A claim under your Workers' Compensation insurance may be successful, depending on the circumstances CIRCUMSTANCES, evidence. The particulars which accompany a fact.
2. The facts proved are either possible or impossible, ordinary and probable, or extraordinary and improbable, recent or ancient; they may have happened near us, or afar off; they are public or of the injury. How much direction and control did the camp exercise over the volunteer's activities? The more supervision, the more likely your state's Workers' Compensation board or commission will grant Workers' Compensation coverage.
Try to minimize potential problems when using volunteers. Notify the insurance company that carries your Workers' Compensation plan that you use volunteers in your operations. Some insurers will add endorsements to their policies, covering volunteers by using an imputed Attributed vicariously.
In the legal sense, the term imputed is used to describe an action, fact, or quality, the knowledge of which is charged to an individual based upon the actions of another for whom the individual is responsible rather than on the individual's hourly rate to calculate the premium. Be proactive about training these volunteers and enforcing safety practices. Find out whether your volunteers carry health insurance and how that insurance would function if they were accidentally injured at camp. Consider purchasing a volunteer accident medical policy. Identify activities that present severe risks and take steps to reduce, eliminate, or prevent such incidents and exposures that could result in injury. In short, be prepared and know the risks.
Ed Schirick is senior vice president of the Markel Insurance Company camp and youth recreation division. He is a charted property casualty underwriter underwriter n. a company or person which/who underwrites an insurance policy, issue of corporate securities, business, or project. (See: underwrite)
UNDERWRITER, insurances. One who signs a policy of insurance, by which he becomes an insurer. and a certified insurance counselor In the United States, Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) is an insurance agent professional certification designation. The CIC certification program was started by the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research in Austin, Texas in 1969. . Send your risk management inquiries to: Ed Schirick, c/o Markel Insurance Company, 4600 Cox Road, Glen Allen Glen Allen is the name of several places in the United States of America: