Is a College Liable if a Student Is Murdered?

If you have recently experienced the tragedy of a student in your family being murdered while at college, you probably have a lot going through your mind. You may not have even considered getting compensation for the incident, but you may be entitled to some form of compensation. However, one thing that confuses many people in this kind of situation is whether the college can be held liable. This guide will tackle this surprisingly complicated question.

College Liability

The thing to remember about whether or not the college is liable for the murder of a student is that nothing is black and white. Whether the college can be held liable depends greatly on the circumstances of the death. There is a chance it could go either way. The majority of lawsuits filed against a college go to trial, which means the court will have to decide whether there is any liability on the college’s part.

In order to hold a college responsible for the death, there needs to be some reasonable failure on the school’s part. For example, if the security on campus is unreasonably low, you might be able to argue that the school was negligent when it comes to protecting the students.


To better understand whether you have a case against the school, you should consider the definition of negligence. Negligence has four parts:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damage

First, to be negligent, it must be shown that someone had a duty to act a certain way. Next, it must be proven that someone breeched that duty and failed to fulfill it. Third, this breach of duty must be the cause of the damage. And finally, the damages must be significant.

Basically, it must be shown that the school did not fulfill their duty to protect the students. What exactly the school’s “duty” is depends on the circumstances. If the school is in a dangerous part of a city, its duty to provide security may be higher than a different school’s. To properly file a lawsuit against the college, your attorney must be able to prove this negligence.

Holding Other Parties Responsible

It may be a better idea to file a lawsuit against the individual who murdered the student with the help of a wrongful death lawyer in Trenton, NJ. Even if criminal charges are being filed, individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual. Many people do not realize that you can file a civil wrongful death claim even when the defendant acted intentionally. This type of lawsuit is not just for negligent actions.

Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into personal injury claims and college liability for a student murder.