Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

RCW 38.52.180(2)

Summary Title

Liability: Travel To or From Emergency or Disaster


An individual traveling to or from an emergency, disaster, search and rescue, or authorized training exercise and attempts to provide aid or assistance while en route will not be held legally responsible. They can be held legally responsible if acting with extreme carelessness or intent to cause harm.

Full Title

Liability for property damage, bodily injury, death — Immunity — Assumption by state — Indemnification — Immunity from liability for covered volunteers

Full Text

(2) All legal liability for damage to property or injury or death to persons (except an emergency worker, regularly enrolled and acting as such), caused by acts done or attempted during or while traveling to or from an emergency or disaster, search and rescue, or training or exercise authorized by the department in preparation for an emergency or disaster or search and rescue, under the color of this chapter in a bona fide attempt to comply therewith, except as provided in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section regarding covered volunteer emergency workers, shall be the obligation of the state of Washington. Suits may be instituted and maintained against the state for the enforcement of such liability, or for the indemnification of persons appointed and regularly enrolled as emergency workers while actually engaged in emergency management duties, or as members of any agency of the state or political subdivision thereof engaged in emergency management activity, or their dependents, for damage done to their private property, or for any judgment against them for acts done in good faith in compliance with this chapter: PROVIDED, That the foregoing shall not be construed to result in indemnification in any case of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith on the part of any agent of emergency management: PROVIDED, That should the United States or any agency thereof, in accordance with any federal statute, rule, or regulation, provide for the payment of damages to property and/or for death or injury as provided for in this section, then and in that event there shall be no liability or obligation whatsoever upon the part of the state of Washington for any such damage, death, or injury for which the United States government assumes liability.