Stories in the news have reported on a number of tragic injuries and deaths of young college students involved in fraternity hazing incidents that went too far. When most people think of fraternity and sorority life, hazing is seen as an accepted part of it. However, hazing can go too far very quickly, and the secret nature of fraternity hazing makes it particularly dangerous for pledges who take part or are forced into the hazing process. If you or a loved one was hurt, or worse, in a hazing incident at a fraternity or sorority, the experienced attorneys at Deldar Legal are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Hazing?
Hazing, especially in a fraternity setting, is a form of social conditioning that is meant to humiliate, abuse, and coerce young people in order to become part of a larger community. Most Greek life hazing happens to pledges, who are students who are actively trying to become members of the organization. Fraternity hazing comes in many forms ranging from subtle to violent, and some of the most common practices include the following:
- Name calling
- Quizzes or drills
- Performance of humiliating acts or wearing humiliating attire
- Sleep deprivation
- Sexual simulation
- Forced alcohol consumption
- Consumption of vile substances
- Beating, paddling, burning, or branding
- Water intoxication
- Public nudity
- Expectation of illegal activity, and more.
These practices can easily lead to the injury or death of a person if taken too far. If you were hurt in a hazing incident you should consider speaking to an attorney about your legal options.
Who is Liable in a Hazing Incident?
In California, people can be charged both criminally and civilly for participating in a hazing activity that leads to the injury or death of another person. Under the state’s Penal Code, it is illegal to participate in initiation activities that are likely to result in serious bodily harm. Criminally, hazing can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the amount of harm done to the victim, and the law provides guidance for civil lawsuits, as well.
If a victim of hazing wishes to seek compensation in a civil lawsuit, all participants in the hazing ritual can be liable for the harm caused by the incident. This goes beyond students to include fraternity officials, former fraternity members, school officials, and others. Compensation can be sought from any Greek organization whose agents, directors, trustees, managers, or officials authorized, commanded, participated in, or ratified the hazing ritual. Damages in a civil lawsuit include all medical bills and property loss in addition to payment for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Talk to Our Office Now
If you would like to speak with a highly qualified California attorney about a hazing incident call the office or contact us today at Deldar Legal to schedule a free consultation of your case with one of our lawyers now.