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North Carolina woman sues sorority over daughter's wrongful death

It has been almost two years since a North Carolina woman learned that her daughter had been killed in a car accident. The woman's daughter was with several friends when their car was involved in a one-vehicle wreck. One of the daughter's friends had been driving. The driver was tired and fell asleep behind the wheel.

The driver and one passenger survived the Nov. 20, 2010, crash. However, the woman's 20-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries in the accident and another passenger died from her injuries the day after the crash. Now, the mother is hoping that she will be able to prevent other families from having to experience the tragic loss of a child. The woman has already filed a lawsuit against the driver for negligence, but it was reported this week that the mother is also filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a sorority for the group's involvement in the fatal accident.

The North Carolina mother may be eligible to obtain compensation for damages resulting from her daughter's death, but she also wants to make sure that changes are made so that no mother has to lose a daughter under similar circumstances. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the driver of the vehicle had been so exhausted because she was trying to join a sorority and was participating in hazing activities.

The woman's daughter and several other women were trying to join the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at East Carolina University. Although hazing was in violation of the school's policies, the sorority subjected pledges to various forms of hazing anyways.

The lawsuit claims that more than a dozen pledges were deprived of sleep as a result of hazing. The women were forced to share a small living space together and perform numerous physical activities. After days of little sleep, the women were then told to show up for 6:30 a.m. hair appointments to get ready for their induction ceremony. When several of the pledges, including the woman's daughter, were on their way to their appointments, one of the pledges fell asleep while driving and crashed their car into a tree.

The mother is asking that the sorority be held partly responsible for causing the fatal accident. Hopefully, this tragic accident will encourage other sororities to focus on the safety of their pledges rather than to put their pledges in dangerous and potentially fatal situations.

Source: The Bellingham Herald, "Mother of student killed in car wreck sues sorority over hazing," Anne Blythe, Oct. 2, 2012

  • Deaths resulting from the negligence of others are often difficult to come to terms with. Our firm provides counsel in these types of matters, including fatal car accidents. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our North Carolina wrongful death attorney page.

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