Archives for July 2017
Tennis Star Venus Williams has been named as the Defendant in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit which arose out of a June 9 car accident that killed 78 year old Jerome Barson and injured his wife Linda.
The collision occurred near Venus’ home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
According to Police, Venus was making a left hand turn into a gated community at a traffic light and the light was red at the time she made the turn.
Witnesses confirmed that Venus ran the red light while turning left.
Venus’ story to police was that she entered the intersection on a green light but then was caught in the middle of the intersection. Venus was trying to clear the intersection and did not see the Barson’s car approaching when she made the left turn.
According to Linda Barson, who was driving the other vehicle, she was approaching the intersection and the light turned green. When she noticed Venus was making a left in front of her, she was unable to avoid the collision.
Fortunately for Venus, there was no evidence of cell phone, drug or alcohol use.
Who Violated Traffic Rules?
In terms of who will ultimately be found liable for causing this car accident, there are three traffic rules in play.
First, the traffic rules require cars to stop at red lights. If the light was, in fact, red, then Venus violated the rule by making a left turn on a red light. Clearly such action was dangerous because oncoming traffic would have a green light making a collision likely.
Second, the traffic rules require cars making left hand turns to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and wait to make the turn until there are no vehicles so close as to constitute a hazard. Again, it appears that Venus violated that rule. The Barson vehicle was approaching and Venus should have given it the right-of-way and not turned left in front of it.
Third, the traffic rules require cars to obey the speed limit. According to the Wrongful Death lawsuit, there was massive damage to both vehicles. Mr. Barson was killed and Mrs. Barson sustained significant injuries. This raises the question of the speed of the Barson vehicle. Mrs. Barson had a responsibility to drive within the speed limit. If she was speeding, then that could have been a contributing cause of the accident.
Ultimately, if the Wrongful Death lawsuit goes to a trial it will be up to the jury to decide who was at fault for causing the collision. It is likely that the drivers will testify, as will the eye witnesses and the Police officers. In addition, both Venus’ lawyers and the lawyers for the Barsons could have crash reconstruction experts study the evidence and testify regarding who was responsible for causing the crash.
What Will Happen in the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Because it appears fairly clear that Venus was at fault for causing this collision and, by all reports is devastated that she made a mistake that took someone’s life, this is likely a case that will be settled out-of-court rather that tried in front of a jury.
Car accident and Wrongful Death lawsuits resolve one of two ways, with an agreed upon settlement or a verdict in court.
In this case, with Venus being a high profile and wealthy professional athlete, I would expect her to have protected herself ahead of time with significant insurance coverage. Car insurance will protect Venus from her liability to pay compensation to Mrs. Barson for her injuries and to Mr. Barson’s family for his Wrongful Death. I would also expect Venus to have an Umbrella Policy protecting her assets well above the liability limits of her car insurance.
(As an aside, as a Personal Injury Lawyer, I always recommend that everyone have liability insurance on their car of at least $250,000 and an Umbrella Policy of at least $1 million to protect their assets if they cause a serious car accident like this one.)
In Venus’ case, I would expect that her personal lawyers will pressure her insurance company lawyers to settle the case out-of-court and to insist on a confidentiality provision in the settlement to protect her privacy.
About the Author – Tim Rayne is a Pennsylvania Personal Injury and Car Accident Lawyer who regularly handles Car Accident Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits. For over 20 years, Tim has been helping injured victims of Car Accidents and their families receive fair treatment from insurance companies. Tim has offices in Kennett Square and West Chester, Pennsylvania. Contact Tim at email@example.com or 6108400124.
An average of 37 children per year die of heat stroke in Hot Cars in the U.S. These tragic deaths result from children accidentally locking themselves in vehicle cabins or trunks and by adults intentionally or accidentally leaving children in Hot Cars.
Hot Car deaths can lead to criminal charges for the responsible adult.
Fortunately, Hot Car deaths are also easily preventable.
Why Do Children die in Hot Cars?
Vehicles have a greenhouse type effect in which they can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. On an 80 degree day, a car can heat up to 125 degrees in just minutes. 80 percent of the increase in temperature happens in the first 10 minutes. It may surprise you to learn that children have died from heatstroke in weather as cool as 60 degrees.
Moreover, contrary to what you might expect, cracking car windows does NOT prevent the vehicle from heating up to deadly levels.
A contributing factor to child injuries and deaths from heat stroke is that children overheat 3-5 times faster than adults.
It is a dangerous phenomenon that most parents believe that they could never leave or forget their child in the car, but over 55% of Hot Car deaths are caused by caregivers.
These cases in which children are accidentally left in the car usually involve a responsibile and loving parent who just makes a terrible inadvertent error. A common scenario is that the parent who doesn’t normally drive the child to day care is called into action in an emergency and then forgets the child because it is not part of his or her usual routine.
Accidental Hot Car deaths have been caused by parents whom you would not expect to be easily distracted including a teacher, dentist, social worker, police officer, nurse and even a rocket scientist, so it can happen to anyone.
Four Tips to Prevent Hot Car Deaths?
Hot Car deaths are 100 percent preventable. Here are some tips:
1- Never Ever leave a child alone in a car – Even if you think you are going to just be gone a minute, anything can happen when you leave a child alone. You could get hurt or distracted and your child could be trapped with the heat rising dangerously. By the way, in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland it is ILLEGAL to leave your child alone in the car.
2- If you see a child alone in the car don’t ignore it – Get involved and save a life. Call 911. Make sure that the child is rescued.
3- Keep your vehicle locked and keys secure – Prevent children from getting injured or killed by playing in the car cabin or trunk by keeping your car locked and your keys secure.
4- Have a plan to avoid accidentally leaving your child in the car – Just when you think it could never happen to you or your family, you might accidentally leave your child in the car. People get stressed and distracted. Even something as critical as the safety of your child can be overlooked. So, plan ahead to avoid tragedy.
Always LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK
Store something essential in the back seat where your child is – like your purse, wallet, briefcase, cell phone or employee badge.
Have a strict policy with your daycare that if the child does not arrive on time both parents must be contacted immediately.
Consider using car seat sensor devices that will notify you if you accidentally leave a child in the car like Sense-a-Life and iBabyseat.
About the Author – Tim Rayne is a Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer with the law firm MacElree Harvey, Ltd. For over 20 years, Tim has been helping injured victims of accidents and their families receive fair treatment from insurance companies. In addition, Tim regularly pubishes articles and videos on Safety and Insurance issues to prevent accidents and protect people when accidents occur. Tim has offices in Kennett Square and West Chester, Pennsylvania. Contact Tim Rayne at 6108400124 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Tim’s website, timraynelaw.com.