Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

CRS 13-21-108.5

Summary Title

Liability: Hazardous Material Clean Up


An individual who provides assistance with the cleaning up, disposing of, or the minimizing efforts during a spill, leakage, or release of a hazardous material will not be held legally responsible. They can be held legally responsible if they are a non-governmental party who received compensation, they act with extreme carelessness or intent to cause harm, or they were the cause of the spill, leakage, or release and will be liable for the damage.

Full Title

Persons rendering assistance relating to discharges of hazardous materials - legislative declaration - exemption from civil liability

Full Text

(1) The general assembly hereby finds and declares that knowledgeable individuals and organizations should be encouraged to lend expert assistance in the event of accidental or threatened discharges of hazardous materials. The purpose of this section is to so encourage such individuals and organizations to lend assistance by providing them with limited immunity from civil liability. (2) As used in this section: (a) "Discharge" includes any spill, leakage, seepage, or other release. (b) "Hazardous material" includes any material or substance which is designated or defined as hazardous by state or federal law or regulation. (c) "Person" means individual, government or governmental subdivision or agency, corporation, partnership, or association or any other legal entity. (3) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person who provides assistance or advice in mitigating or attempting to mitigate the effects of an actual or threatened discharge of hazardous material, or in preventing, cleaning up, or disposing of or in attempting to prevent, clean up, or dispose of any such discharge, shall not be subject to civil liability for such assistance or advice, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section. (b) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person who provides assistance upon request of any police agency, fire department, rescue or emergency squad, or governmental agency in the event of an accident or other emergency involving the use, handling, transportation, transmission, or storage of hazardous material, when the reasonably apparent circumstances require prompt decisions and actions, shall not be liable for any civil damages resulting from any act of commission or omission on his part in the course of his rendering such assistance, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section. (4) The exemption from civil liability provided for in this section shall not apply to: (a) Any person whose act or omission caused in whole or in part such discharge and who would otherwise be liable therefor; (b) Any person other than the employee of a governmental subdivision or agency who receives compensation other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for his assistance or advice; (c) Any person's gross negligence or reckless, wanton, or intentional misconduct. (5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate or limit the sovereign immunity granted to public entities pursuant to article 10 of title 24, C.R.S., the "Colorado Governmental Immunity Act".