Lately one cannot read the newspaper without hearing about a young person whose life was ended early at the hand of cyber-bullying or a hazing ritual gone wrong. Recently the family of a Florida A&M University drum major who was killed in Orlando during a hazing ritual found out that they will receive $1.1 million to settle a wrongful death suit.

Florida A&M University has agreed to pay $300,000 of the amount while an insurance company for Rosen Plaza hotel will pay the remainder since the hazing occurred on a bus parked at the hotel where the band was staying. The family originally filed a lawsuit against the university for $8 million alleging that it had allowed hazing to be an institution within the band. The drum major was killed during a hazing ritual, which required him to walk from the front of the bus to the back while his fellow band mates, hit, kicked, and beat him with instruments and traffic cones. While the university initially argued that the drum major had signed a document that said he would not participate as a hazee, which made them not liable for his death, the case still settled.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a way for a family to recover compensation to cover the costs of any expenses that arose as a result of their family member’s death. In Florida, a wrongful death claim provides beneficiaries with the ability to recover damages in an event that the person’s death was considered wrongful. Although a wrongful death claim will not bring a family member back, it will ensure that the family does not endure financial hardship in the aftermath of the death.

What is a Family Entitled To?

A family who loses a loved one is faced with immense grief. However, it is even more tragic when the grief was preventable. Florida’s wrongful death statute allows each survivor to recover the lost support and services from the date of the person’s death and future loss of support and services. Loss of support and services is determined by taking the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available to the survivor and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor. A spouse may also be entitled to loss of decedent’s companionship, and, if the children do not have a surviving parent, then they will receive money for lost parental support. The wrongful death claim is meant to try to fill part of a hole that exists as a result of a family member’s unfair demise.

Have You Lost Someone to Hazing?

If you have lost a loved one to hazing then you may be entitled to damages. Although these damages will never replace your lost loved one, we at Reed & Reed understand that you deserve this money and it could potentially help ensure that you can get the help you need to survive this tragic reality.

From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.