Liability protection is provided to all officers, employees, and agents of the University under Wisconsin Statute, Section 895.46(1). Volunteers acting under the direction and control of the University and for its benefit are considered agents and thus covered. This statute authorizes the State to pay claims based on the negligent acts of employees or agents or to defend employees or agents against allegations of negligence, which may have caused injury or property damage to others provided the employee or agent was acting within the scope of his/her responsibilities to the University. It is important volunteers acknowledge mistakes that could lead to potential liability claims and that such incidents be reported promptly by the department to the UW–Madison Risk Management Office.
Volunteers are not covered by worker’s compensation. If injured during the course of their volunteer work, they would have the same legal rights as other citizens have to pursue a claim if the injury resulted from University negligence (see Liability webpage).