Suit over wrongful death at University of Pennsylvania party settled

Many people think of college parties as they are depicted in the movies-loud and raucous with the alcohol flowing. Students may be left with nothing much worse than a hangover the next day. But any Pittsburgh wrongful death lawyer knows that the combination of young people and alcohol can result in bigger problems than a mere hangover, including injury or even death.

The family of a college student has filed a wrongful death suit after his tragic death, which occurred during a fraternity party on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The 20-year-old student was not a student at the school but was there attending a New Year's Eve party. During the party, he became intoxicated. While walking up the fraternity house stairs to the second floor he tripped. He fell over the stair rail and landed on his head, resulting in a serious brain injury. The student died four days later in an area hospital.

When someone is killed because of the negligence of another, the deceased person's family has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the family may be able to recover damages for the personal injury, pain and suffering and medical expenses that were incurred.

Here, the wrongful death suit alleged that the fraternity where the accident occurred had a duty to ensure the safety of the stair railings and that they had failed to perform that duty because railings in the fraternity house were defectively low. Recently, the fraternity agreed to settle the case for $3 million, and the store that sold the alcohol to the underage student agreed to settle for $375,000.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "$3.4 million settlement reached in Penn frat party death," Zach Needles, Dec. 10, 2012

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