Many of the “benefits” that draw young college students to Greek life are the very characteristics which make fraternity and sorority houses dangerous to the community. Chief among those “benefits” is the regular consumption of both alcohol and drugs. The heavy use of alcohol and recreational drug by young adults is consistently leading to injuries, death, and sexual assaults across university campuses in America. North Carolina campuses are no exception to that pattern. If you or a loved one has suffered injury, death or sexual assault as a consequence of the behavior of a fraternity or sorority chapter, the attorneys of Maginnis Law may be able to help. Our lawyers are experienced in representing the victims of the Greek life “culture.” You can visit our contact page for information on speaking with us about your situation, whether it involves fraternity hazing or if you have been harmed by the actions of a member of such an organization.
Unfortunately, fraternity and sorority behavior doesn’t just impact its own members. In many cases, the conduct of the organization can hurt innocent bystanders as well. For example, our firm has experience in handling a claim where a fraternity consistently permitted drug and alcohol use by its members at its fraternity house. After one of the brothers consumed alcohol and marijuana at the fraternity house, he caused a fatal car crash that tragically killed three people. Similarly, intoxicated and impaired fraternity and sorority members often times commit physical or sexual assaults against other innocent members of the University community. If this assault occurs because of heavy, unlawful consumption of alcohol or drugs at a Greek residence, the fraternity or sorority may have responsibility.
Of course, on some occasions, pledges and members of a fraternity or sorority can be injured too. Hazing is incredibly common in Greek life. Often the hazing or ritual goes too far and results in physical injury or acute alcohol poisoning. Similarly, the incredible amount of alcohol consumed during hazing can lead to falls and other incidents which can cause serious injury or death.
Ultimately, fraternities and sororities are like the rest of our community – there are basic rules they must follow. In fact, there are often multiple layers of rules that must be followed by Greek organizations, including the rules of their national organization, the rules of the University, and the rules of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). Failure to follow these rules leading to injury, death or sexual assault can result in significant liability for the fraternity or sorority
If the negligent behavior or hazing of a fraternity or sorority chapter has resulted in harm to you or a loved one, there will be certain damages a jury can choose to award. Aside from medical expenses, a jury may also award compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, permanent injury, permanent scarring, and loss of use of part of your body, if these are applicable in your individual case. Just as importantly, depending upon the nature of the conduct by the fraternity or sorority, punitive damages may be available. These are a form of compensation that can be awarded by a jury in exceptional circumstances where the fraternity or sorority’s behavior amounted to willful and wanton conduct (as it often does). If the case involves intentional hazing, punitive damages will very likely be an issue the jury can consider.
Cases involving Greek organizations can be complicated and must be investigated as soon as possible. These organizations have a well-earned reputation for hiding and concealing evidence. Similarly, their insurance coverage and business structures can be difficult to understand and must be thoroughly evaluated to determine what sources of compensations may be available. For example, many times the actual fraternity or sorority chapter does not own their own home, it is owned by an alumni organization which is allegedly a distinct entity.
If you or your child has been hurt because of the conduct of a fraternity or sorority, or any other sort of hazing incident, such as one involving an athletic team, our attorneys will offer a free consult and will travel to meet with you to discuss the case. Just as importantly, if we are able to take your case, we will do so on a contingency fee basis – meaning you will pay no attorneys’ fees until there is a financial resolution to your case, whether by settlement or verdict. If there is no recovery then you pay no attorneys’ fees.
To discuss your hazing or fraternity/sorority negligence case with Maginnis Law attorney Shawn Howard, you can call him directly at 919.480.8526. You can also send Shawn an email or visit our contact page to submit the details of your fraternity or sorority negligence or hazing case. Our firm can help with cases involving Greek organizations throughout North Carolina, including those involving campuses in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, Wilmington, Boone, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Asheville, and the remainder of the state.