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How do I know if I have a case for a hazing lawsuit in Ohio?

October 31, 2022 / Chip Cooper

Some think hazing is a harmless initiation ritual, run by leaders of fraternities and sororities so that new pledges can prove their commitment to the group.

The truth is that hazing can be incredibly dangerous, damaging, and even deadly

If you have been a victim of hazing, you may be able to file a lawsuit against those who took part in forcing you to undergo what many people find traumatic. The best way to find out if you have a case for a hazing lawsuit is to work with a local Ohio attorney with experience in personal injury and hazing claims.

The Cooper Elliott legal team has been tackling the most challenging and complex injury cases in the Columbus, Ohio area for many years. The attorneys that make up the Cooper Elliott family have decades of litigation and trial experience building strong claims that are difficult for defendants to dismiss or minimize. We have been serving Ohio residents for years and have the skills you need to create a winning case and hold people accountable.

Who Can Be Liable Civilly for Hazing in Ohio?

Ohio’s civil anti-hazing statute, 2307.44, lays out who can be liable civilly for hazing.  

This includes officers, directors, etc. of local and national organizations, members who participated in the hazing, and even the Universities as a whole. 

What is required to hold each of these people/entities responsible depends on their status. For example, an officer of a local chapter is liable if they “authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing.”  

Universities and university officials can be held responsible when they “knew or reasonably should have known of the hazing and who did not make reasonable attempts to prevent it.” In addition, Universities are required to enact and actively enforce a policy against hazing to avoid liability.

Additionally, unlike other types of cases, Ohio’s anti-hazing statute makes it clear that the victim’s conduct does not reduce the defendants’ responsibility: 

“The negligence or consent of the plaintiff or any assumption of the risk by the plaintiff is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this section.”

Is Hazing in Ohio Civil or Criminal?

In Ohio, those involved in hazing incidents can face both criminal and civil repercussions. 

The criminal charges can be misdemeanors or felonies and can result in jail time of between 60 and 180 days and fines that can reach into the thousands. 

Civil actions brought against those liable for hazing damages (discussed above) can result in compensation for not only medical bills but ongoing psychological trauma and treatment, as well as many other damages if the actions result in the death of another.

Cooper Elliott Can Be the Difference in Your Hazing Case

If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed during hazing, it is crucial that you reach out today for legal assistance. 

We’ll handle the complex paperwork, filing, and proofs necessary to strengthen your claim, and we take pride in simplifying the process so that you and your loved ones can focus on healing and recovery.

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