Several months ago, we informed you about a wrongful death lawsuit filed against tennis superstar Venus Williams. New developments in the case have caused more questions about who is at fault. If you have filed a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, you can learn some important lessons from this case.
In early June, initial reports indicated that Williams had run a red light, and a car driven by Linda Barson crashed into Williams’ car when it entered the intersection. Barson suffered several fractures and her husband Jerome Barson suffered injuries that led to his death two weeks later.
The Barson family’s attorney accused Williams of “running a red light, failing to yield the right-of way, inattentive driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.” The attorney also said that Linda Barson is “physically and emotionally devastated.”
Police Provide New Evidence
New evidence has come to light that state Williams was driving lawfully throughout the incident. In a recent deposition hearing, newly released police video showed that Williams did not violate traffic laws when she entered the intersection on June 9. Originally, police said that Williams violated Barson’s right of way, but now they are investigating who is at fault for the accident.
The new report shows that Williams entered the intersection on a green light and slowed as the car in front of her turned left. She was inside the intersection when Barson’s light turned green. Barson entered the intersection at about 25 mph and crashed into Williams’ vehicle, which had slowed to about 5 mph.
In the new statement, police say a Nissan Altima cut Williams off while she was traveling north in the intersection. She had to stop moving forward to avoid a collision with the Altima, then she lawfully moved forward after the Altima passed. Police are looking for the Altima driver as part of their investigation. Williams has not been cited or charged by the police.
The Barson family’s attorney stated that the police video still shows that Williams violated the Barsons’ right of way and should still be held responsible for the accident. The attorney also said that witness reports show the Barsons lawfully entered the intersection on a green light.
Since the police are now saying that Williams was acting legally, the Barson family attorney must take a different approach to proving Williams is at fault. Here are some tactics that he may use:
Use the police report in a settlement.
Police records are not admissible in court, but they can be very helpful in negotiating settlements. The police report can be used to determine fault. If the investigation does find that Williams is at fault or partially at fault for the crash, the settlement can be negotiated out of court.
Use witness accounts to strengthen the argument.
The attorney will likely rely heavily on witness accounts to support Barson’s claim. If witnesses testify that Barson lawfully entered the intersection and that Williams’ vehicle obstructed her right of way, the claim against Williams will be strengthened. If the police can call the Altima driver in as a witness, it may strengthen the case against Williams.
Defend client testimony.
If Linda Barson still insists that she did not see Williams’ vehicle when she entered the intersection, her attorney will work to defend her testimony in the case against Williams.
Stand on the Wrongful Death Act.
The Wrongful Death Act states that Barson can file a lawsuit against Williams because she believes Jerome Barson’s death can be attributed to “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters.” If Barson wins the case, she can recoup costs for medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of support and services.
Lessons to Learn from this Case
If you are involved in a car crash lawsuit, it’s important to know what Florida law requires for car accidents:
Stop at the accident scene.
Call for help for anyone who is injured.
Report the accident to a local law enforcement agency.
If your vehicle is blocking traffic, move it or call a tow truck to move it for you.
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
In the height of prom season, across the country, local police and first responders work with surrounding schools, survivors, and other drunk driving prevention organizations to reenact realistic reminders of why teens in their communities shouldn’t drink and drive. One survivor in Illinois recounted his experience of being ejected through a car window after plowing [..]
Cycling is not only a convenient and healthy way to get around in Florida, but it’s widely accepted as an effective means of reducing congestion on the road and improving the quality of our environment. However, the relationship between drivers and cyclists in Florida has always been tinged with antagonism. Motorists often complain that cyclists [..]
We live in an animal-loving society. Most of us interact with pets on a daily basis (ours or others), and they are an important part of many people’s lives. However, it is vital to remember that all animals are, at their core, wild, and sometimes things go wrong. What happens when an animal bites someone? [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
Car accidents can result in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. How is it decided who will have to pay for these damages and bills? In Florida, it usually starts with personal injury protection (PIP). If you experience damages that add up to less than [..]