Protecting myself in contract with Volunteer work

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Protecting myself in contract with Volunteer work

Greetings,

I am starting a closet organization business. However, I’ve been doing and will
continue to do a few volunteer services to help build my skills/portfolio before
registering my business with the state. How can I protect myself in contract as
a volunteer from any possible damages made to a renovation I perform under
volunteer work? Is that possible to do?

Asked on December 28, 2016 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can have the recipients of your efforts sign an agreement agreeing to waive any claims that may arise out of the work you do and further agreeing to not sue you. Note, however, that while you can protect yourself this way from any claims due to ordinary negligence, or carelessness, the law generally does not you protect yourself from claims arising out of "recklessness"--extraordinary carelessness. So, for example, say you install a closet organizing system and don't nail it in properly, so it pulls out of the wall or falls down--you can generally protect yourself from the consequences of that. But if you drive a nail into a pipe and rupture it, causing water damage, because you did not check for pipes, etc., that could possibly be seen as reckless (and contractor, etc. should know to do this as a matter of course) and they might be able to sue you...and if you, as a non-electrician, attempted to reroute an electrical line in your way, that would definitely be reckless and you could be sued if damage resulted.


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