Everyone understands all drivers have a responsibility to others using the road. When drivers text behind the wheel, drive recklessly or operate while under the influence, they may face both criminal and civil ramifications.
However, most people assume different rules apply to racecar drivers. After all, tracks are closed, and all drivers take some risk when entering the raceway. Although racers must adhere to a different set of rules, they are not immune to either criminal charges or personal-injury lawsuits.
Last month, racer Kevin Ward Jr. spun out into a wall. Officials warned the rest of the pack to slow down and exercise caution. Ward left his vehicle, and on the next lap, champion racer Tony Stewart struck and killed Ward. Stewart says it was an accident, while many describe his actions as negligent.
Stewart Does Not Face Criminal Charges Yet
Authorities are still investigating, and the county sheriff said they’ve not found enough evidence to arrest Stewart. However, he could still face murder charges.
Sports Illustrated explains other drivers reviewed the footage and said Stewart must have seen Ward. Some even claim Stewart was trying to scare Ward by driving too close. If this is true, he could face first-degree murder charges. If his actions were merely reckless, he could still face second-degree murder charges.
Even if he does face criminal charges, the burden of proof is very high, and experts don’t expect prosecutors will get a conviction. Though he probably won’t see any jail time, Tony Stewart will most likely face a wrongful-death lawsuit from Ward’s family. The burden of proof is much lower in civil courts.
If you’ve lost a loved one to a reckless driver, you have the right to file a wrongful-death lawsuit to seek compensation and justice. At DuBoff & Associates, Chartered, we can help you plan and file your claim. To schedule a free consultation with a car-accident lawyer in Baltimore, please call 443-912-0002.
Stewart’s History of Violence May Hurt His Case
In the past, Steward has gotten into fistfights with other racers and even threw his helmet at a driver’s windshield during a race. To make matters worse, The Daily Mail reports he routinely threatens to run over other racers during post-race interviews.
Ward’s family can submit each of these incidents as proof of a pattern of violent behavior on the track. Experts say they expect Stewart would attempt to settle with Ward’s family out of court because he is worth $100 million dollars and can’t afford the negative publicity of a trial.
If you are planning a wrongful-death lawsuit, you can rely on the expertise and experience of the personal attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered. To arrange a free consultation with an experienced car-accident lawyer from our law firm, please call us at 443-912-0002.