When NASCAR fan-favorite Tony Stewart’s car struck and fatally wounded Kevin Ward Jr., another professional driver, in the summer of 2014, it seemed all too inevitable that the sportsman would be named in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In mid-August, that suspicion became a reality, with Ward’s family officially filing a lawsuit against Stewart in a New York state court, where they currently reside and maintain a family business.
Ward, an Empire Super Sprints driver, was 20 years old when he was killed in August of 2014. An initial investigation into the incident determined that Ward ran from his car towards Stewart’s vehicle on foot, as Stewart circled the track under caution, and was killed when struck by Stewart’s right rear tire.
Stewart already faced grand jury testimony in September of 2014 and was exonerated after less than an hour of jury deliberation. According to the district attorney, it was revealed that Ward had marijuana in his system at the time of his death – enough to determine that it influenced his actions.
Despite the previous ruling, the Ward family’s filing of a civil wrongful death case is unique, as it involves a racing death liability. As a result, the standard of proof is not as high, as it might be in a criminal case.
Wrongful Death Claims in Las Vegas
If someone has wrongfully lost their life, it is typically due to the negligent behavior of another individual or entity, including companies or organizations. When these situations occur, the victims’ families, including surviving dependents or other beneficiaries, often take the next step in filing a wrongful death claim, as they may be entitled to damages or other restitution.
You may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim if:
- The defendant acted in a negligent manner
- The victim was fatally injured as a result of the defendant’s actions
- There are surviving beneficiaries or a spouse, or in the event of monetary loss after the death
Wrongful death laws vary on a state-by-state basis, and there are also laws, or survival statutes, that enable cases to be brought against other parties after a wrongful death occurs. It is important to note that states do have their own statute of limitations regarding wrongful death, and claims can be denied, even if overwhelming evidence is presented.
If someone you love has lost their life as a result of another party’s negligence, you should consult with a qualified personal injury and Las Vegas wrongful death attorney, who can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
In Las Vegas, the attorneys at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen specialize in the pursuit of wrongful death claims, both in Nevada and throughout the country.
Our team of Nevada personal injury experts is prepared to provide the sound and compassionate advice you need during this difficult time. To schedule an initial consultation to discuss your wrongful death claim, we invite you to give our attorneys a call today at (702) 505-8115.