Seasoned Lawyers for College Hazing Victims
College hazing is sadly alive and well, in fact it is prevalent. It occurs when college-sponsored activities require initiates to be involved in abusive or harmful activities as a condition of joining or staying with the organization. These activities may result in physical, sexual or emotional injuries. If you or your child were harmed by college hazing, whether fraternity [link to fraternity hazing] or sports hazing [link to sports hazing], call the trusted hazing lawyers of Phillips & Associates. You and your child should not struggle through the aftermath of hazing alone. We offer free initial consultations and represent clients on a contingency fee basis.
WHAT IS THE NY ANTI-HAZING LAW?
The anti-hazing law criminalized hazing in New York after a number of people suffered serious injuries and deaths as a result of well-reported incidents. Hazing in the first degree requires a prosecutor to prove: 1) in the course of initiation at a college-sponsored event, a person requires another person to (2) purposefully or intentionally (3) touch someone else with great risk or require them to do something that generates a heightened risk of physical harm to other people, and 4) actually causes an injury. A hazing in the second degree charge is less serious because someone can be charged even if nobody got hurt, so long as the activity involved an unacceptable level of risk to an initiate. In addition, if you were hazed in college, you are entitled to bring a private civil cause of action for personal injuries caused by hazing. These lawsuits may be brought against individual perpetrators, but they can also be brought against college leaders, coaches, professors, and the college itself. The institution may be liable, for instance, if its negligent retention, supervision or training of staff members, or its concealment of wrongdoing, caused harm. Additionally, family members may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for the pain and suffering that flowed from the actions of a college organization where rituals were a cause of your loved one’s death. It may be appropriate for our attorneys to seek compensatory and punitive damages from defendants. As a parent, you should stay alert to red flags that your child has been hazed.
WHAT IS HAZING THAT INVOLVES SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Sexual assault hazing occurs when new initiates are forced to go through sexual harassment, assault or abuse to join a fraternity, sorority, club or sports team. It is more common than students and parents who are not involved realize. This type of hazing [link to types of hazing] includes:
- Sexually assaulting, raping or sodomizing initiates
- Improperly touching or groping initiates
- Requiring initiates to sexually abuse others in order to join a team or group
- Mandating sexually or physically abusive hazing activities
- Forcing initiates to go through humiliating sex acts or indecent exposure
- Requiring alcohol consumption that leads to sexual assault
- Mandating personal sexual servitude.
HOW DO YOU PROVE COLLEGE HAZING?
Sometimes defendants circle the wagons and hide evidence to avoid being held accountable, particularly when hazing caused physical or sexual injuries or wrongful death. In some cases, when alcohol is involved in college hazing, victims may be unsure about what happened to them. They may have blacked out. However, in a lawsuit for damages, the plaintiffs bear the burden of proving that hazing occurred, and that the defendants should be held liable. This is why it is so important to seek legal representation to investigate and find other witnesses. Our seasoned attorneys can use discovery, depositions, and sometimes investigators to determine what happened so that we can prove your claim in court. We like to get involved early so that we can stay abreast of what is happening in a criminal case. The police investigation may yield evidence that we can use or must counter in the civil case and our involvement can make a difference. You should call us as soon as you realize that you have been harmed.
CALL EXPERIENCED PLAINTIFF'S LAWYERS ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE HAZING CLAIM
Our New York City attorneys represent those who have been hazed in New York including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Nassau County. We are also in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and can help throughout the U.S. Complete our online form or call us at (212) 248-7431 if you believe you or your child may have a claim. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis and provide free consultations.
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