July 26, 2017

Documents show tennis star alleges victims’ own negligence caused injuries

Defense attorneys for tennis superstar Venus Williams recently responded to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow and fellow passenger involved in a fatal traffic collision on June 09, 2017. According to reports, Williams denies all liability in the crash, going as far as to blame the victims for their injuries.

Lawyers for the 37-year old tennis player argue the elderly couple’s own negligence was the cause of death, claiming the pair failed to properly maintain their vehicle and were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of death. Furthermore, the response indicates Williams had a green light when she drove her her SUV into an intersection moments before the plaintiffs’ car slammed into her.

Williams’ lawyers also asked the court to have accounts of the widow’s injuries stricken from the court record, calling the victim’s cracked sternum, a shattered right arm, broken right wrist, hand, and fingers “immaterial” to the case. Additionally, the two sides have also allegedly spared over discovery of key facts in the case, including phone records, vehicle inspections, and electronic vehicle data that could potentially indicate Williams rate of speed before crash.

Police find Williams at fault in fatal car crash but decline to charge tennis champion

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida police found Williams at fault in the crash but declined to charge the tennis pro with any criminal counts, as is usual in most traffic collisions. Typically, an at-fault driver’s conduct would have to be so wanton and reckless in order for it to rise to the level of criminal conduct.

While the standards for criminal charges remains quite high, our civil justice system does allow for victims and surviving family members to bring their own car crash lawsuit against negligent drivers to hold these individuals responsible. Although no amount of money can undo the harm caused by someone’s careless actions, the law provides monetary compensation as a main form of relief to injury victims.

Steps in a car crash lawsuit

Currently, the parties in the Venus Williams fatal car crash lawsuit are at the very early stages. Even though the police in the ongoing investigation found Williams at-fault in the accident, that is not a determination of guilt and a court will determine to what extent, if any, the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injury.

While every case is different, most car accident lawsuits follow a timeline similar to the one below:

  • Police investigation – Immediately following the car accident, police and first responders will conduct their investigation and give their determination of how and why the accident occurred
  • Initial legal consultation – Car crash victims and their families meet with an auto injury attorney for an initial consultation to discuss the case, including the events leading up to the event, the injuries sustained, and medical bills up to that point
  • Gathering records – After an attorney accepts the case, he or she will collect all necessary documentation like pay stubs and medical records to present to the defendant’s auto insurer to file a claim
  • Filing an insurance claim – Before engaging in time consuming litigation, the victim’s attorney will file a claim with the insurer and attempt to resolve the matter out of court
  • Filing suit – If no out of court settlement can be reached, the plaintiff’s attorney files a car crash lawsuit and serves it on the defendant and their representatives
  • Discovery – Each side asks questions called interrogatories, interviews witnesses in depositions, and collects any other evidence needed to prosecute the claim at trial
  • Mediation – After filing a lawsuit and before going to court, the two sides can still mediate the matter and come to an out of court settlement
  • Trial – If not resolution can be reached, a court will decide the case. At trial, a jury is picked, each side introduces motions to enter or exclude evidence, attorneys make opening statements, witnesses are called, and after closing arguments, the jury or judge deliberates on the case

DC auto injury lawyers

While The Cochran Firm, D.C. is not involved in this particular matter involving Ms. Williams, our experienced DC injury lawyers regularly represent the victims and family members of catastrophic auto accidents. If you or a family member were seriously injured in a car crash, contact an auto accident attorney to discuss your case.