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America is a nation of volunteers. We volunteer for political campaigns, social and charitable functions, and work-related events. Most of this volunteering is done without any thought as to liability consequences; for example, who is liable for certain acts or omissions that cause injury or damage to the volunteer or others. If we use a volunteer, John Q. Public, as an example, then perhaps the potential consequences of volunteering will be made clearer.

In the first scenario, Public has volunteered to build houses for a local humanitarian society. While constructing the house, Public accidentally shoots a fellow volunteer with a nail gun, backs his car over the foot of a curious passerby, and puts five staples from a power stapler into his own hand. After leaving the hospital, Public goes home to ponder his situation.

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