Hazing Injury and Death Attorneys
Doug Fierberg, Jonathon Fazzola, and the legal team at The Fierberg National Law Group have 30 years of experience working exclusively with hazing and school violence law, winning justice for victims of violence and misconduct in schools, and working with anti-hazing organizations to raise awareness and promote prevention. We have helped victims navigate the legal complexities of hazing; obtaining millions of dollars in compensation, pushing universities, fraternities, and schools to reform, and establishing legal precedent nationwide in order to help other families and victims.
What should I look for when seeking hazing injury and death attorneys?
Unfortunately, when victims try to hold organizations and universities accountable for hazing issues the institutions, more often than not, hide behind teams of lawyers to avoid responsibility. As such, it is important to seek out a hazing injury and death attorney that is accustomed to successfully litigating hazing issues in court. Our law firm has made it our life’s work to seek justice for victims and their families who have suffered terrible tragedies while in the care of such organizations. Our reputation is that of a national leader setting precedent in hazing case law. You can read here about what our former clients have had to say about our work on their behalf.
What are examples of hazing?
- Forced or required consumption of alcohol and/or drugs
- Forced to eat spicy foods and/or eat or drink toxic or other types of substances not meant for human consumption
- Endure hardships such as staying awake for long periods of time, menial tasks, physical labor, running while blindfolded, carrying sandbags or bricks in backpacks, etc.
- Humiliation (physical or mental) of new or potential members
- Isolation of new or potential members
- Beatings, paddling, “egging” or any other physical acts against new or potential members
- Sexual abuse/rape against new or potential members
- Any other illegal activities to prove worth
Hazing: Did you know?
While the media typically only reports on the most egregious forms of hazing, hazing issues plague thousands of students across the country every year. Serious physical injury and death are not the only ramifications of hazing. According to the experts at StopHazing, “hazing overlaps with other health and well-being concerns for individuals, groups, and the broader community. Research has illuminated intersections between hazing and mental health and well-being, high-risk substance use, sexual harassment and assault, and other forms of interpersonal violence such as bullying.”
- Sexual Violence: While the issues of sexual and relationship violence and stalking and hazing are distinct phenomena, they share many common dynamics and incident characteristics. The findings from the National Study of Student Hazing (Allan & Madden, 2008) indicate that slightly over half of students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing and the behaviors that are perpetrated against them are abusive, risky, and potentially illegal.
- Mental Health & Well-Being: Hazing experiences and outcomes intersect with student mental health and well-being. Researchers are exploring how individual mental health and the relative well-being of groups and communities can be both a potential risk factor that can amplify harm caused by hazing and/or a protective factor that can help minimize harm and prevent its occurrence.
- Systems of Oppression: Like sexual violence, hazing involves abuse of power. As such, it intersects with, and can reinscribe, power dynamics of larger social systems including sexism, racism, heterosexism, and other systemic oppressions. Further, hazing occurs across many different types of student groups and sociocultural entities (not just predominantly white fraternities).
- Hazing & Bullying: A simple way to distinguish hazing from bullying is that hazing typically occurs for the expressed purpose of inclusion whereas youth who bully are typically seeking to exclude and marginalize another child. It’s important to understand the differences between hazing and bullying because many hazing incidents may go unrecognized or be overlooked if a school simply relies on its bullying policy to “cover” hazing.
- High-Risk Substance Abuse: Research has shown that alcohol misuse is frequently associated with hazing in some types of student groups. Drinking large amounts of alcohol to the point of getting sick or passing out was a type of hazing behavior reported in a number of studies including the national hazing study and was noted by student-athletes, members of fraternities, and sororities, club sports teams, and other types of groups. Substance (alcohol and other drug) misuse can impair judgment and capacity and impairment from substances can impede consent. For all these reasons, substance misuse and hazing can be a problematic combination.
- Hazing and Leadership: Hazing occurs in the context of student clubs, teams, and other types of organizations including the military. These environments are arguably some of the most salient living-learning laboratories for leadership development.
Hazing: Did you also know?
- More than half of students in colleges and universities involved in clubs, sports teams, and organizations have experienced hazing.
- A significant number of hazing incidents and deaths involve alcohol consumption.
- Students are more likely to be hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed.
- 2 in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus.
- Hazing occurs in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.
- Both male and female students report a high level of hazing.
What are the legal consequences of hazing?
Currently, the legal consequences of hazing vary by state. There are eleven states that have clear definitions of what constitutes hazing and make hazing a felony when it results in severe injury or death. They are:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
Six states: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Wyoming have no laws that define or prohibit hazing. The remaining states each define hazing differently and classify it as a misdemeanor, even if the result is serious injury or death.
If you are reading this, more than likely you or someone dear to you has experienced a serious injury, trauma, or death as a result of hazing. Our law firm is here to support you and your loved ones during this difficult time, and you can count on the fact that we are the best hazing victims attorney fighting for you.
Our legal team has the training, experience, and confidence necessary to overcome tough legal obstacles and well-heeled lawyers. We handle fraternity hazing cases in all 50 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
If we are not licensed to practice in the state where tragedy has occurred, we obtain special permission to practice and associate ourselves with qualified local trial counsel – combining local attorneys with national expertise – giving you the best legal representation.
We want to make sure that you get the justice you deserve and that hazing is no longer part of the school experience. For a confidential conversation, please contact our offices at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1.877.WASH.DC.1.