Tony Stewart, the Nascar driver whose car struck and killed opposing driver Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua (N.Y) Motorsports Park on August 9, will not face criminal charges. The incident happened when Ward, angry after a bump from Stewart’s car, left his vehicle and approached Stewart’s during a caution lap. Ward was struck and killed.
The absence of any criminal charges against Stewart, in addition to the fact that Ward had marijuana in his system at the time of his death, could indicate that a civil suit is unlikely. Nonetheless, if a suit does come to fruition, a New York jury would be delegated the task of assigning percentages of fault for each party in a wrongful death case.
The Ward family’s plan to pursue a wrongful death case against the three-time Cup champion could make Tony Stewart settle out of court with the family for an undisclosed amount instead of argue his lack of negligence in the death.
Stewart told the Associated Press, “I know 100 percent in my heart and in my mind that I did not do anything wrong. This was 100 percent an accident.”
Despite this assertion, Greg Bloom, an attorney at the Miami entertainment firm Chase Lawyers, said he would advise that Tony Stewart settle. “I think he will end up settling,” Bloom said. “If I was to advise him, I would advise the same because he wants everything to be behind him. Everyone wants this whole story to be behind him, so he can move forward professionally and the memory of the deceased can rest.”
Other lawyers agreed to the high likelihood that Tony Stewart settles, noting that his incentive to also stems from preserving his reputation to earn sponsorships to race and avoid negative public perception and sentiment. As we stand now, only time will tell if Tony Stewart settles.
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