Even Athletes Can Get Into Accidents
In the month of June, Florida had yet another tragic case of an auto accident that resulted in the death of one of the drivers. This case, however, garnered far more attention than the usual auto-accident related news covered throughout the state. This time, one of the drivers was a celebrated American athlete, Venus Williams, a star in the tennis world, and even now there is still a lot of debate going on about exactly what happened and who was at fault.
A Fateful Crossing
On June 9, at approximately 1 pm in Palm Beach Gardens, Venus Williams was driving her Toyota SUV. She crossed an intersection, going at only about five miles per hour when another vehicle ran into her. The other car was driven by Linda Barson, with her husband Jerome Barson as a passenger. Linda Barson suffered a cracked sternum, shattered right arm as well as a broken wrist, hand and fingers. Jerome Barson died of his injuries.
One of the immediate consequences in the aftermath of this tragedy was that the surviving Barson family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit. There are claims that Venus Williams was attempting run a red light when she crossed the intersection, and that Linda Barson was driving under a green light and thus had the right of way.
While neither car was outfitted with a dashboard camera, there was security footage available from one view of the intersection that Williams had stopped at. It’s highly likely this video is now being scrutinized as part of the evidence for the ongoing case.
Williams Fires Back
For nearly a month, neither Venus Williams nor her attorneys responded to what exactly had been happening with regards to the wrongful death suit. Things have recently changed. One of the factors surrounding the accident is speculation that Williams may have been using her phone during the accident. This is supported by witness statements indicating that in the aftermath of the accident, she had her hand close to her head, implying that a phone may have been in use.
The Barson family has since requested phone records to determine whether or not the phone was in use, and William’s attorneys have finally responded after all the silence since the incident. First, they opposed the request to gain access to the phone records, and now William’s legal team is denying all allegations of wrongful death. They are requesting any and all photos taken during the accident, are requesting complete medical and psychiatric records of the Barson family, and are claiming that the Barsons are guilty of negligence because they weren’t wearing seatbelts during the accident.
This presents many challenging questions for both legal teams in this lawsuit, and there are no easy answers.
Is Williams Right?
Neither driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, so that factor, at least, can be ruled out as contributing to, or assigning blame in this accident. And while the legal teams of both parties, with their respective accident lawyers are conducting their own investigations for the case, the ultimate decision of who is accountable for this accident will be left in the hands of a jury. That means that it is up to the lawyers to present arguments—and, more importantly, evidence—that will convince the jury of what decision is the right one.
In this case, the most important evidence will be anything that clears up the order of events in the accident. A key piece of evidence is the security footage that shows William’s car slowly entering into the intersection, then being hit by the Barsons’ vehicle. However, the critical event will be whether eye witness account are correct in saying that Williams was attempting to run a red light. If that is true, and the Barsons had the right of way, then the case will more strongly favor the Barsons and their seeking a wrongful death outcome.
The Comparative Factor
On the other hand, if the Williams legal team is correct in its assertion that the Barsons were not wearing seatbelts, there may be some cause for a form of negligence. Obviously, if Williams was running a red light, she will be largely at fault in the accident. However,” comparative negligence” is when other parties share some of the blame for the injuries, and not wearing seatbelts would definitely exacerbate the severity of an injury, and could have led to the unnecessary death of Jerome Barson.
As always, it is up to an experienced wrongful death attorney using years of legal and investigative experience to resolve such a case. But with the right evidence, and a proper investigation in the truth of the incidence on June 9th, the case of Venus Williams and the Barsons will see its day in court, and get some kind of resolution.