Hazing tragedy at Pennsylvania university leads to guilty pleas

Any injury can feel like a robbery. People must spend precious time in recovery, they have high expenses at a time when it is harder to earn and some lifestyle changes may last for a lifetime. Some accidents and actions are dangerous enough to cause death, and survivors of victims can feel quite lost.

This may be especially true if survivors do not feel the law is being firm enough with the people who caused pain or fatalities. A recent series of criminal cases against members of a fraternity at a Pennsylvania university has left the families of a dead student wondering if the punishment was enough.

Several defendants pled guilty and received probation or admission to a program that may lead to expunged criminal records. Their charges were the result of a 19-year-old boy dying after a risky hazing tradition was carried out. Others received sentences of up to nine months, and one was sentenced to house arrest after many serious charges were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas.

However, criminal charges or convictions have no bearing on civil court cases, which are designed not to punish offenders but to make victims as whole as possible. Families of people killed by other people’s negligence or bad behavior have the right to sue for financial damages with a wrongful death lawsuit.

Legal representation is often just as important for plaintiffs in civil cases as it is for defendants in criminal cases. A lawyer can represent a person’s interests in court in all cases, but civil cases for financial damages may be easier with an attorney on a family’s side.