La. Bill Aims to Protect Post-Hurricane Volunteers From Lawsuits

April 6, 2006

Doctors who volunteer post-hurricane medical help in Louisiana need extra protection against malpractice lawsuits, a Louisiana House of Representatives committee decided April 4.

Rep. Sidney Mae Durand said doctors from overseas and from other states came to Vermilion Parish after Hurricane Rita to offer their help but went home after realizing that Louisiana law did not fully protect them from such suits. Durand’s bill would limit their liability for deaths or other injuries during a state of emergency “except in the case of gross negligence or willful misconduct.”

The House’s civil law committee passed the measure without opposition, sending it to the full House.

The committee also passed a Durand bill offering similar protection to the United Way and the Southern Mutual Help Association, groups that provide housing and other assistance after hurricanes.

Durand said she sponsored the bills because the state cannot recover from storms without volunteers.

“What would we do without volunteers? We don’t have enough people to take care of all this,” said Durand, D-Parks.

She said she planned another bill for the next legislative session that would also protect the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts.

House Bills 70 and 884 can be viewed at

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