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California Fraternity Accident Lawyer

Maison Law represents the victims of accidents and trauma that occur at California fraternity and sorority houses. Our personal injury lawyers demand compensation for injured students when the leaders of fraternities and sororities are negligent in their duty to keep guests, pledges, and members safe from harm. That can include the dangerous act of hazing that puts students at risk. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation for all victims and their families. Contact us to set up a confidential case review.

Do I Need a Lawyer After an Injury at a Fraternity House?

If your injury is serious or you are left with trauma from something that happens at a frat house, you should speak to a lawyer about your case. The physical damages may come from an accident that caused a broken bone, or stem from the effects of alcohol poisoning. The physical and emotional trauma of a sexual assault could also force you to seek justice.

With what’s at stake for victims, you might need the help of a skilled California Fraternity Accident Attorney. It’s critical to make sure a fraternity can’t cover up what happened or get away with offering you too little support or none at all.

Fraternities and sororities are often run by large organizations or even corporations that can afford teams of lawyers. In some cases, your claim may involve the college itself, which will also be protected by lawyers and perhaps even state laws. These entities will be trying to discredit your story. Your lawyer is a safeguard against this unfair treatment. Your lawyer fully investigates your case and then demands the maximum in compensation for you and your family so you can rebuild your lives.

Greek Organizations in California and the Potential Risk for College Students

With the vast and highly-regarded California university system, students in-state and out-of-state flock to our local institutions. That includes the large campuses of UCLA and UC Berkeley. Private colleges like USC, Stanford, and Pepperdine University also report massive enrollments each year.

Around each campus, you’ll also find dozens of Fraternity and Sorority houses. These are social organizations where members often all live in one place. Membership helps students build friendships and learn about community responsibilities. Greek Life also offers places to unwind, socialize, and party.

UCLA alone is home to 60 Greek-letter organizations with around 3,500 students participating. Overall, it’s estimated there are over 1,300 fraternities and sororities operating in California.

These are organizations that can greatly benefit a student’s school experience and life after graduation. However, they are also places where people can be hurt and emotionally scared when safety and security are neglected. When people suffer harm, many different parties can be held accountable.

These are just some of the Fraternities and Sororities we can help victims hold accountable:

Who Is Responsible for Harm Caused at California Sororities and Fraternities?

Sometimes “Greek Life” can focus too much on having fun, partying, and on hazardous rituals like hazing. Just like any business or organization, Fraternities and Sororities owe their members a “duty of care.” They must protect their members and visitors from the dangers that arise around these social organizations and from the harm members can cause to each other. When the leaders and corporate operators of sorority and fraternity organizations fail in their duty, they must accept liability.

If the negligent actions of a sorority or fraternity caused or contributed to the harm you experienced, you or your family members can seek compensation for the costs of your recovery and other damages.

And it’s not just a fraternity or sorority that could be found liable after an accident or a criminal act. These are a few of the potentially liable parties when someone gets hurt at a Greek House.

  • Fraternity or Sorority
  • Alumni chapter or alumni corporation
  • Private College
  • The State of California in the case of an accident on a university campus

These and other entities can all be the target of a lawsuit if you or a family member are injured physically or emotionally while on a fraternity’s property. In some cases, victims may need to file claims with several different at-fault parties. This gives victims and their families a better opportunity to secure money to pay for all recovery costs and emotional damages.

It’s best to trust a skilled California personal injury lawyer who can determine every party that should be involved in providing support to you. Your lawyer would then negotiate with each liability insurance provider for these organizations to secure the most in compensation through a settlement. If a fraternity or sorority was unwilling to accept complete responsibility for an injury, your lawyer would be ready to file a lawsuit and take the organization to court.

Types of Hazards that California Fraternities Create

The hazards students can be exposed to can surface at many locations associated with Greek Life. They might occur inside a Greek House, on the grounds of a sorority, or at an event organized by a Greek entity.

The types of dangers are varied, but common risks appear at many Greek houses across the country each year. Members and pledges may be exposed to criminal acts like physical and sexual assault. They may experience harm during illegal initiation rituals like hazing.

These are just some of the most frequent ways fraternities and sororities are negligent and allow members to get hurt:

  • Hazing injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Other underage drinking hazards
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Physical assault
  • Injuries suffered during sporting events and unsafe games
  • Bonfire dangers
  • Discriminatory behavior
  • Emotional trauma involving humiliation and embarrassment
  • Fall hazards in poorly maintained houses and on grounds
  • Negligent security that leads to criminal acts
  • Gross Negligence
  • Wrongful Death

The evidence for these types of accidents, mistakes, and attacks will often be quickly covered up. Without a skilled lawyer on their side, victims may be convinced that they aren’t owed anything and that they need not report what happened. They can be asked to stay silent. Your lawyer is a safeguard and makes sure your voice is heard and works to make it less likely it happens to anyone else.

Hazing Injury Claims on a California Campus

Hazing injuries are issues that commonly make headlines in California and across the nation. These induction-related events are usually for pledges hoping to become members and are billed as tradition and rites of passage. But hazing is now well recognized as a potentially deadly activity and has claimed many lives.

It’s also an illegal practice under California Law:

CA Penal Code Section 245.6 or Matt’s Law reads:

(a)

It shall be unlawful to engage in hazing, as defined in this section.

(b)

“Hazing” means any method of initiation or preinitiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university, or other educational institution in this state. The term “hazing” does not include customary athletic events or school-sanctioned events.

Anyone caught hazing someone or planning to haze someone, even with no injury involved can face misdemeanor charges. A fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail is possible. If someone is seriously hurt or killed during the hazing, guilty parties will face felony charges and much more serious punishments.

Those who perpetrate hazing will face criminal charges, but victims and their families can also seek support through a civil lawsuit as well. Contact a skilled California Hazing Injury Lawyer to go over your options.

Will I Have to Wait On a Criminal Trial to File an Injury Claim Against a Fraternity?

No. The individuals and/or the Greek organization responsible for your accident may face criminal charges, but your claim seeking money for help in recovery will be a separate case. You’d file a civil claim for damages. It can be filed at any time. You and your lawyer can file a lawsuit even if a criminal trial hasn’t started yet.

The outcome of a criminal trial doesn’t affect your civil claim either. A fraternity may have to pay out damages in a settlement even if found not guilty by a judge in a criminal trial.  Your lawyer would seek a fair settlement for you and your family, but also be ready to seek justice in a civil trial if necessary.

How Much Will I Earn If I Sue a Fraternity for Injuries?

Coming up with an accurate estimate of what your injury is worth won’t be possible until your lawyer has heard every detail of what happened and has investigated the accident. Your attorney will assess every hardship you’ve endured since the accident and could face in the years ahead due to your injury.

Your lawyer works to determine how much you’ll be demanding from a Greek organization and/or a university based on how long it takes you to heal. Everyone heals at their own pace. In some cases, victims may never fully recover and could need medical and financial support for the rest of their lives.

Your lawyer would seek estimates on the cost of lifelong care and basic needs. The emotional trauma you endure should also factor into the settlement check you receive.

Your lawyer will be demanding support for these and other factors:

  • The costs of current medical treatment and any care expected to be necessary in the future.
  • Potential future income loss if permanently disabled and unable to work.
  • Costs relating to the pain experienced as a consequence of the accident.
  • Support for emotional distress a frightening accident or attack causes.
  • Taking into account how the accident has impacted your quality of life.
  • Setbacks to the education progression for a student.
  • Income lost from a college job.
  • Reimbursement for personal property damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can My Family Receive Support if a Loved One Is Killed in a Fraternity Accident?

Yes. Families may file wrongful death claims against fraternities and sororities. These claims would seek assistance with funeral costs and leftover medical expenses. A California Wrongful Death Attorney would also demand support for the future relationship loved ones have lost with a child or spouse and for the income and guidance the deceased can no longer support the family with.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit against a fraternity or university?

You are given two years from the date of your accident to file against a fraternity or a private college. But be warned, suing a university (and the State of California) can mean you face a much shorter statute of limitations for your claim.

What if I Can’t Afford to Pay a Fraternity Accident Lawyer?

You won’t need any upfront money to hire Maison Law. Our lawyers don’t get paid unless they win your case for you and your family. Then our fee comes out of the settlement or judgment your family is awarded.

Contact a Fraternity Accident Lawyer

The victims of college accidents and trauma at fraternities and sororities can feel shame and doubt about filing a claim and seeking recovery help. Families who lose loved ones to senseless accidents might, understandably, want to avoid thinking about such a tragic event.

Maison Law aggressively protects victims and loved ones at such a vulnerable time. We want to handle the frustrating negotiations with careless fraternity chapters and lawyers working for universities. Our California Fraternity Accident Lawyers will be fighting for justice while victims are allowed to focus on healing and families are permitted to grieve a loss.

Maison Law offers a free and confidential case consultation to all victims who suffer harm on campus or at a Greek house. Contact us today and let us answer your questions and go over the best options for holding a fraternity or sorority responsible for their negligence.

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