Ohio NASCAR racing fans may be shocked to learn that, on Aug. 7, former driver Kevin Ward Jr.’s family filed a wrongful death claim against fellow driver Tony Steward. According to the lawsuit, the Ward family stated that Stewart was responsible for Wards death at the Empire Super Sprints race in 2014.
The lawsuit stated that, on Aug. 9, 2014, the two drivers were racing under a caution flag when Ward left his vehicle and ran towards Stewart’s car. Stewart was accused of gunning his vehicle as Ward neared, causing the vehicle to strike the driver with the right rear tire. Ward was pronounced dead due to blunt force trauma about 45 minutes following the accident. Stewart was never criminally charged for the accident.
In order to be successful in the case, Ward’s family members must prove that Stewart held partial responsibility for the man’s death. Stewart claimed that the incident was entirely accidental. The Ontario County district attorney stated that the grand jury, which watched two videos of the incident, did not see Stewart driving irrationally prior to the accident. Additionally, it was discovered that Ward had marijuana in his system when he died.
Whenever individuals are involved in pedestrian accidents, they are at risk for suffering life-altering or life-threatening injuries. If a person dies and it can be proven that a driver was responsible for that person’s death, the family can potentially win a wrongful death claim. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the family can seek compensations for damages that they personally sustained, including loss of income and companionship. In many cases, an attorney can negotiate a settlement. If this fails, the attorney may represent the family in court.
Source: ESPN GOI, “Ward family files wrongful death lawsuit vs. Tony Stewart,” Bob Pockrass, Aug. 7, 2015