Deceased NASCAR driver's family files wrongful death lawsuit

Georgia NASCAR fans may have heard that the family of Kevin Ward Jr., who died in an accident on a NASCAR track, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tony Stewart on Aug. 7. The family reportedly accused the driver for being responsible for the 20-year-old's death.

The incident occurred on Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua Motorsports Park during the Empire Super Sprints race. It appeared that Ward and left his vehicle and approached Stewart's car under a caution flag. Stewart was accused of gunning his vehicle as he drove past Ward, which caused the vehicle's right rear tire to strike the young man. He was reportedly tossed about 25 feet and died 45 minutes later.

Stewart did not receive any criminal charges for the incident. The lawsuit was filed in Lewis County Supreme Court in New York, about 175 miles away from Watkins Glen International. Stewart had reportedly been practicing there in preparation for a NASCAR race. The family was reportedly seeking an unstated amount of damages for gross negligence, reckless conduct, wrongful death and for Ward's suffering prior to his death.

In order for a wrongful death case to be successful, the family of the decedent must prove that the defendant bore responsibility. If it can be proven, surviving family members may be entitled to receive damages that are allowable by statute. The laws in this regard vary from state to state, but in many cases plaintiffs can seek funeral and burial expenses as well as loss of income and companionship.

Source: ESPN Go, "Ward family files wrongful death lawsuit vs. Tony Stewart", Bob Pockrass, Aug. 7, 2015

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