Protect Your Rights with the Assistance of a Hazing Injury Lawyer
HAZING IS NOT NEW
Hazing has been around for thousands of years. It is what the members of the established group do to the prospective or new members of that group. Hazing has been done in the military, sports teams, employers, unions, police and fire departments, social organizations, scholastic organizations, and many more.
RITE OF PASSAGE
Hazing is considered by some as the Rite of Passage. The feeling is that the established group wants the new members to “pay their dues” for membership by being embarrassed, ridiculed, tested, hurt, and just anything to make it difficult to get in. The thought is that if it is difficult to get in, the new member will value the membership much more. Even little kids make hazing a part of membership in their little clubs and sometime catastrophic injury results. Also big tough men in major league sports do the same thing to rookies.
For example, years ago I had a case involving eight to ten year old kids that had their own club out in the middle of a lot behind a BBQ restaurant that had very high weeds. The clubhouse was nothing more than a small area in the middle where they had cut down some of the weeds. In order to be admitted to the club, the prospective new member had to be invited and then he had to walk through the coal ashes, with shoes on, where the BBQ restaurant dumped them on a daily basis. The problem was that there were sometimes very hot live coals in the pile beneath the harmless looking ashes. My little client received third degree burns to her feet through her shoes and had to have surgery.
HAZING BY FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES
Most of the dangerous hazing happens in colleges and universities. It has become an important part of joining a fraternity or sorority, in spite of the warnings and known dangers of hazing, which is illegal. The hazing may just involve ridiculing or embarrassing the pledge, but may also involve dangerous alcohol drinking games or “walks.” Many pledges have been killed from acute alcohol intoxication, due to active members making the pledges participate in the drinking games to be admitted to the fraternity or sorority. Consumption of a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time can cause death. There are a host of other hazing activities which can cause death or catastrophic injury.
If hazing causes death or catastrophic injury, the local fraternity should be liable. However, there is usually no insurance coverage for hazing or alcohol claims because they are excluded from the policy. When it is excluded, the hazing attorney must go after the local and national fraternity. The problem is that the local chapter usually has no funds or unencumbered assets. Also, the national chapter is usually responsible in its printed material and content on its website warning it members about the dangers of hazing. Therefore, the national chapter may not have any responsibility, although it may have substantial assets.