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Fraternity members named as defendants in truck accident lawsuit

College football games, particularly those between bitter rivals, are often accompanied by large crowds of tailgating fans. Such sporting events are typically regarded as fun and celebratory events where the most serious injuries that occur to spectators are those to the bruised egos of fans of the losing team.

During a 2011 football game between Yale University and Harvard University, what began as a fun day of tailgating quickly turned into a chaotic scene in which one woman lost her life and another was seriously injured. A case was recently brought before the Connecticut Superior Court in which 86 students, who were members of Yale's SigEp fraternity when the 2011 fatal accident occurred, are named as defendants.

The day of the tragic event, a SigEp member was driving a U-haul truck loaded with kegs of beer. As the driver attempted to navigate near a crowd of tailgaters he lost control of the truck and crashed into the crowd. A 30-year-old woman was killed in the accident and another female student was seriously injured.

Previous lawsuits filed by both the female student and the estate of the 30-year-old woman named Yale University, the driver of the truck and the SigEp national affiliate as defendants. These most recent lawsuits, however, name all 86 members of Yale University’s SigEp chapter. Attorneys for the plaintiffs contend they were forced to sue all 86 fraternity members after, in the wake of the tragic accident; the SigEp national affiliate effectively disowned the Yale University chapter.

It will now be up to a jury to determine if and how much the student and surviving family members are entitled to receive for their pain, suffering and loss. This case proves how complex matters related to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can become. Connecticut residents who have been adversely impacted by a car or truck accident would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who has experience handling these types of matters.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Yale Fraternity and 86 Members Sued Over Fatal Tailgating Crash in Connecticut," Andrew Harris and Chris Dolmetsch, Jan. 15, 2014

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