You may worry about a variety of dangers when you send your young adult child away to college, but what happens if you experience the unthinkable and he or she is murdered or otherwise killed due to the neglect or actions of another? Is the college responsible? Where do you turn when you want to file a wrongful death suit? Seeking out an attorney to ask a few questions may help you understand which steps to take if you planned to sue your deceased child’s college.
About Wrongful Death at a University
Before you can sue for wrongful death, it can be important to learn a few facts first. Unlike other personal injury cases, a wrongful death suit involving a college usually has a few differences:
- It is brought on by a close relative on behalf of the deceased (usually parents)
- Liability may be capped by laws that protect large educational institutions
- Students involved in sports programs may have already signed waivers related to injury
Your attorney can discuss these points with you before you file a suit so you can feel more confident about the outcome.
If Your Child Was Murdered
The circumstances of your child’s death may have a significant impact on the type of suit you file. For example, if he or she was killed in a domestic dispute with his or her partner, you may have to file suit against the person responsible instead of the college. However, if he or she was murdered in a robbery or during a sexual assault, the college may have failed in its responsibility to keep students safe, and a wrongful death lawsuit may be possible.
If Your Child Committed Suicide
According to its official website, in 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that colleges and universities may be liable for the suicides of their students if it can be proven that administrators were aware of the student’s mental health and not enough steps were taken to prevent suicide. This can be a difficult point to prove, especially if your child did not leave a note or give any clear indication that he or she was suffering from depression. Your attorney may be able to assist you with building this type of wrongful death suit.
Off-Campus Murders and Deaths
If your child was killed during an off-campus party or event, you may not be able to hold the college liable. For example, if he or she accepted a ride home from a drunk friend and was killed on the way home, you may have to sue the drunk driver or his or her family if he or she was killed as well.
Losing your college-aged child to murder or other types of wrongful death can change your life forever, but help is available. Call a wrongful death lawyer for more information and assistance.