Legislation would protect contractors responding to emergency work.

WASHINGTON - The Associated General Contractors of America is excited about a "Good Samaritan" bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"The Good Samaritan legislation is designed to provide contractors, such as those responding to Hurricane Katrina, with qualified immunity from liability when providing services in volunteer situations that arise from a disaster or emergency," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. "When construction expertise is needed, there should not be anything to make the construction industry hesitate in responding to help and possibly save lives and property."

Specifically, the bill would provide construction entities with legal immunity for negligence lawsuits when providing services or equipment on a volunteer basis in response to a declared emergency or disaster. It would not cover gross negligence or willful misconduct.

According to AGC, many states that have a Good Samaritan statute on the books do not include contractors within its protections.

The bill was introduced in the U.S. House by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah).