Can You Sue if Your Child Was Injured Because of Hazing?
When parents send their kids off to college, it’s safe to assume that one of their biggest fears is that their child will become a victim of hazing. In fact, statistics from the University of Dayton, Ohio state that about 55% of all college students who are engaged in extracurricular activities have experienced hazing. Perhaps even more startling is that nearly half of all students who come to college for the first time have experienced hazing, meaning that this particular type of bullying behavior is starting much younger than we may realize. If your child was injured because they were a victim of hazing, it’s important to know what options are available to you.
Read more: College Prep: 4 Tips For Parents
Pennsylvania’s Hazing Laws
After the tragic death of Penn State student, Timothy Piazza in February 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf enacted a new anti-hazing law. The Timothy Piazza Law established several tiers for hazing, making the least serious offenses low-level violations while those that result in injuries are ranked as misdemeanors. Individuals who are found guilty of inflicting serious injuries or death will be facing felony charges.
The Timothy Piazza Law also created a definition for hazing, classifying it as a “conditioning acceptance into a group on breaking the law.” Forcing someone to consume food, drugs or alcohol that emotionally or physically harm them as well as physical acts of assault such as whipping, branding and beating are also included in this definition. Other acts such as exposure to extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation or causing extreme embarrassment are also included. The law also requires schools to maintain policies that combat hazing. Schools are also required to report cases of hazing.
Despite these laws being in effect, hazing still happens on campuses not only within the state but throughout the country.
Who is Liable for Hazing?
If your child was injured as a result of hazing, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against multiple parties not limited to the individuals involved and the school where the incident took place. Let’s take a look at filing a claim against the school first.
You may be able to file a claim against the school for overseeing the group that conducted the hazing. For example, if your child is a member or pledge to a sorority or fraternity and is injured due to hazing, you may be able to file a claim against the school for being negligent in not reporting the incident or not having a policy in place to combat hazing in the first place.
Another case of negligence by the school may be if a school guard or other school official noticed the hazing but stood by and did nothing to intervene. This brings us to filing a claim against the individuals involved. In the case of Timothy Piazza, his parents sued 28 members of the fraternity who were involved with their son’s untimely death. Eight individuals were charged with manslaughter, while the others were charged with hazing, among other offenses.
Read more: The Severity Of Fraternity Hazing
If your child was injured because of hazing on a college campus, don’t hesitate in seeking legal help. Our firm takes these cases seriously and will work with you to make sure that your family is not only fairly compensated but that incidents like this don’t happen to anyone else.
Contact a Center City Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Personal Injury Case In Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to hazing in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of hazing in Philadelphia, Center City, University City, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (866) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 South Broad Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.