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Can a College Be Liable in the Death of a Student?

Posted on January 14th, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Negligence Personal Injury Lawyer

When a college student dies, it’s natural to want to hold someone accountable. Whether the college is liable depends on many factors. The Massachusetts Supreme Court found that in certain cases, a college can be held liable for a student’s suicide if the college fails to act. However, in a specific case brought to the Court, the Court sided with the college. MIT could not be blamed for a student who committed suicide.

Where Did The Incident Occur?

The Massachusetts Court determined that a college could be held liable for suicide, if the school knew that the student had threatened suicide or attempted suicide while enrolled. This court only applies to cases in the state, but there are other states that have determined the same thing. Whether you can sue the college for a student’s death depends on state laws and how the courts have upheld the laws. The Massachusetts judges said that schools must take reasonable measures to help students.

What Are the Circumstances Concerning the Death?

How a student dies would be one of the first questions that need to be asked. A student who has a heart attack is much different than a student who suicides. The college would need to be negligent in some way to hold the institution responsible.

If a student died by suicide, it would have to show that the school knew about the suicide threats and that the school did nothing. If the school made referrals to counseling and tried to get the student help, it might be difficult to hold the school responsible for suicide death. If the school was unaware of the suicide threats and the student later died, again, it might be hard to show that the school was liable.

If a student was murdered in college, there would be questions about whether the school was safe and if the school did enough to prevent crime on campus. Was the area lit up? Did the school know that the murderer was a threat? Was the college negligent?

Talk to an Attorney

If your student was killed while at college, you probably have many questions. If you think there may have been negligence on the college’s part, contact an attorney who can help you sort through the state and federal laws that would determine negligence and liability. Negligence cases are quite complex. When you’re grieving, even more so. There are many laws that determine negligence and it takes an experienced lawyer, like a Wrongful Death Lawyer, in  Lakewood FL, to help you be successful.


Thank you to the experts at David & Philpot, P.L., for their contributions to wrongful death law. 


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