Nothing can take away the emotional pain of losing a loved one. If death of an innocent victim has resulted from the negligent acts of another, this may be grounds for a wrongful death claim. A recent story discusses a negligence case that stems from approximately 30 years ago.

In 1980, a young man was a junior at a local university where he planned to join the a specific fraternity. During the fraternity’s initiation week, pledges were required to drink copious amounts of alcohol. The junior eventually fell asleep and fraternity members were unable to wake him. Students left the man alone overnight, and he was found dead the next morning.

An article explains that the family of the young man sued the fraternity organization for wrongful death damages. Eventually, the South Carolina Appellate Court found that the fraternity owed a duty to care to prevent physical harm to initiating members. The court found the organization responsible for damages related to the man’s death.

After the wrongful death case, the family of the victim pushed for stringent laws that would criminalize such harsh fraternity hazing practices. Fortunately, in 1987, a former governor signed a bill that made specific acts of hazing a misdemeanor and punishable by fines and jail.

It appears that the family of the college man found some solace in the passage of the 1987 bill. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for people to struggle after the passing of a loved one. If you have recently lost a close family member as a result of another’s negligence, you may also have a claim for the wrongful death of your loved one. For this reason, you may want to speak to an attorney about your possible avenues of recovery.

Source: The State Media Company, “Mother recalls son in fight against hazing,” Matt McColl, Jan. 23, 2012