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Georgia Fraternity Hazing Wrongful Death Lawyers

Fighting for the Families of Fraternity Hazing Wrongful Death Victims in Georgia

Fraternity hazing is ruthless and humiliating. It’s extremely dangerous and doesn’t serve any legitimate function for today’s college students. Countless students have been needlessly harmed and killed in hazing-related incidents. If your loved one was killed due to fraternity hazing, you have the right to seek compensation for your loss.

Georgia is home to over 90 colleges and universities. We have several public institutions of higher learning, including the University of Georgia in Athens and Georgia State in Atlanta, as well as prominent private schools such as Emory University and Spelman College. For over 35 years, Butler Prather LLP has been assisting accident victims in Georgia.

Our experienced Georgia personal injury lawyers will file a lawsuit against anyone whose negligent behavior contributed to your loved one’s wrongful death. Butler Prather LLP has won settlements and verdicts for clients in over 30 states. We’ve won nine verdicts that exceed $100 million and over 60 verdicts and settlements of over $10 million.

Call (706) 322-1990 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.

What Is Fraternity Hazing?

Fraternity hazing is the use of cruel and demeaning behavior as part of an initiation ritual for joining a group. Hazing is no longer condoned by national fraternity organizations, and it is illegal in Georgia, but the practice persists at many colleges and universities.

People who wish to join a fraternity or sorority are referred to as pledges. Many students who pledge to fraternities are looking for friends and companionship or just trying to fit in with college life. Fraternities offer activities and fellowship for their members, but there’s often a steep price to pay.

Hazing takes place in a group setting, and it’s meant to humiliate people. It pressures students to commit embarrassing and unsafe activities that they wouldn’t normally take part in. Common hazing activities involve torture, abuse, and the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. Pledges are pressured to engage in the following types of demeaning behavior:

  • Spanking and paddling
  • Physical assault
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Name-calling
  • Rape
  • Burning or branding
  • Eating dog food
  • Underage drinking
  • Illegal drug use
  • Wearing embarrassing clothes
  • Sexual abuse
  • Electric shock
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Being left out in the cold without sufficient clothing

How Fraternity Hazing Harms Students

There are people out there who believe that hazing is a harmless activity, but they are simply wrong. Hazing takes a severe toll on its victims. The heavy drinking and drug use involved often result in deadly accidents caused by drowning, falls, vehicle collisions, alcohol poisoning, and exposure.

Fraternity hazing can cause long-lasting physical, emotional, and psychological damages, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Organ failure
  • Amputation
  • Bone fractures
  • Paralysis
  • Whiplash
  • Nerve damage
  • Wrongful death

When Fraternity Hazing Kills

There have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths since 2000, according to NBC News. In many of these cases, the victims were underage. The ongoing culture of recklessness that permits these deaths to take place is unacceptable.

Young people simply looking to have a good time pay a gruesome price for fraternity hazing. Recent examples of deaths caused by hazing include:

  • West Virginia University. The family of a freshman who died of acute alcohol poisoning received a $3 million settlement from Kappa Sigma Fraternity, West Virginia University, former WVU students, and two landlords.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University. The family of a 19-year-old pledge who died of alcohol poisoning filed a $28 million lawsuit against the VCU chapter of Delta Chi fraternity, the Delta Chi Educational Foundation, and Delta Chi Fraternity Inc.
  • Bowling Green State University. The family of a student at this Ohio university was awarded two settlements totaling almost $10 million after their son died from alcohol poisoning in a hazing ritual. Members of Fi Kapp Alpha left the student alone at his apartment after he had consumed a lethal amount of alcohol.
  • Northern Illinois University. A 19-year-old student was pressured to drink so much alcohol during a hazing ritual that he had five times the legal blood alcohol limit in his system when he succumbed to alcohol poisoning. Several fraternity members were found criminally guilty for his death.
  • University of New Hampshire. The mother of a student sued a local bar, several members of UNH’s Sigma Chi, and its national organization after her son was found having drowned in the woods. The official cause of death was drowning due to acute intoxication.

Who Is Liable for Fraternity Hazing Deaths?

College students look to university officials for guidance, but universities have been known to condone dangerous fraternity activities that lead to wrongful death. Fraternities cannot operate without a charter from the university. One of the reasons university officials are reluctant to punish fraternities and take away their charters is that a lot of powerful politicians and business leaders are former fraternity members and supporters.

At Butler Prather LLP, we’ve gone up against some of the most powerful interests in the country, including major corporations. We will follow the evidence wherever it leads and seek compensation against anyone who committed negligent actions that contributed to your loved one’s death. Plaintiffs in a college hazing wrongful death lawsuit may include:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Local fraternity chapters
  • National fraternity organizations
  • Landlords
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Fraternity leaders and members

How Your Georgia Fraternity Hazing Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

Butler Prather LLP will conduct a thorough investigation, and when we’re finished, we’ll file as many wrongful death actions as we have to get justice for your family.

A Georgia fraternity hazing wrongful death lawsuit includes the following types of damages:

  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages
  • Loss of income

We’ve Recovered Over $1 Billion for Our Clients

At Butler Prather LLP, we’ve dedicated our legal practice to helping people and families who have been harmed by the careless actions of others. We understand the seriousness of your loss, and there will always be someone at our firm available to speak with you about your case and how it is progressing.

Contact us at (706) 322-1990 today to explore your legal options with a free consultation.

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon