Bill Protecting Emergency Volunteer First Responders Heads To Governors Desk, Inspired By Two Fallen Firefighters
Richmond, VA-- If the governor signs the bill, Virginia will have a new law granting legal immunity for volunteer first responders when they're on their way to an emergency.
Senator Bill Stanley introduced the bill that got unanimous approval from the House and Senate.
This bill means that volunteer firefighters or volunteer emergency services personnel would not be liable for any injuries to a person or property damage while they're in an emergency service vehicle, on the way to an emergency. The bill protects them from legal trouble, unless there was gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Senator Stanley said this stemmed from the 2012 Posey Dillon- Danny Altice estate lawsuit in Franklin County. The two firefighters were killed en route to an emergency after an SUV struck their fire truck. However, the estate of Danny Altice sued Dillon's estate, claiming Dillon was driving carelessly.
The current 'Good Samaritan' statute protects paid first responders from such lawsuits, but not volunteers.
"What we've had is real concern of people not wanting to volunteer because not only were they putting their lives on the line, but they were also putting their financial stability and that of their families on the line. So this protects them and lets them know that we appreciate the good job that they're doing, and we will protect them since they're protecting us,"said Senator Stanley.
The bill is now waiting for Governor McAuliffe's signature.