Survey of State and Federal Laws Providing Limited Immunity From Civil Liability for Health Care Providers During Disasters

Law or ActFederal or StateYear First EnactedIndividuals ProtectedConditions
Tort Claims ActFederal, State1946Government employeesGovernment consents to substitute as defendant
Good Samaritan lawsState1980VolunteersRendering aid at scene of emergency
Emergency Management Assistance CompactState1996VolunteersRendering care as an agent of the requesting state
Volunteer Protection ActFederal1997VolunteersServing nonprofit organization or government entity
Model State Emergency Health Powers ActState2001All providersRendering care under contract with or at request of a state
Model Intrastate Mutual Aid LegislationState2004VolunteersRendering care as an employee of the state
Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness ActFederal2005All providersWhen dispensing a countermeasure
Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners ActState2007VolunteersRendering care under host entity at direction of requesting state
  • Adapted from Pope TM, Palazzo MF. Legal briefing: crisis standards of care and legal protections during disasters and emergencies. J Clin Ethics. 2010;21(4):358–367; Hodge JG Jr, Garcia AM, Anderson ED, Kaufman T. Emergency legal preparedness for hospitals and health care personnel. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2009;3(suppl 2):S37–S44; Hodge JG Jr. The evolution of law in biopreparedness. Biosecur Bioterror. 2012;10(1):38–48; Courtney B, Hodge JG Jr; Task Force for Pediatric Emergency Mass Critical Care. Legal considerations during pediatric emergency mass critical care events. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011;12(suppl 6):S152–S156; Burkle FM Jr, Williams A, Kissoon N; Task Force for Pediatric Emergency Mass Critical Care. Pediatric emergency mass critical care: the role of community preparedness in conserving critical care resources. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011;12(suppl 6):S141–S151; Rothstein MA. Currents in contemporary ethics. Malpractice immunity for volunteer physicians in public health emergencies: adding insult to injury. J Law Med Ethics. 2010;38(1):149–153; Rosenbaum S, Harty MB, Sheer J. State laws extending comprehensive legal liability protections for professional health-care volunteers during public health emergencies. Public Health Rep. 2008;123(2):238–241; Hanfling D, Altevogt BM, Viswanathan K, Gostin LO, eds; Committee on Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations; Institute of Medicine. Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2012. Available at: Accessed July 24, 2017; Barnett DJ, Taylor HA, Hodge JG Jr, Links JM. Resource allocation on the frontlines of public health preparedness and response: report of a summit on legal and ethical issues. Public Health Rep. 2009;124(2):295–303; Eddy A. First responder and physician liability during an emergency. Am J Disaster Med. 2013;8(4):267–272; Hoffman S, Goodman RA, Stier DD. Law, liability, and public health emergencies. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2009;3(2):117–125; Rutkow L, Vernick JS, Wissow LS, Tung GJ, Marum F, Barnett DJ. Legal issues affecting children with preexisting conditions during public health emergencies. Biosecur Bioterror. 2013;11(2):89–95; Foltin GL, Lucky C, Portelli I, et al. Overcoming legal obstacles involving the voluntary care of children who are separated from their legal guardians during a disaster. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2008;24(6):392–398; Sauer LM, Catlett C, Tosatto R, Kirsch TD. The utility of and risks associated with the use of spontaneous volunteers in disaster response: a survey. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2014;8(1):65–69; Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, 42 §USC 300hh et seq (2006); and Cole C, Marzen C. A review of state sovereign immunity statutes and the management of liability risks by states. Journal of Insurance Regulation. 2013;32:45–82; and Lopez W, Kershner SP, Penn MS. EMAC volunteers: liability and workers’ compensation. Biosecur Bioterror. 2013;11(3):217–225.