In the NASCAR death of Kevin Ward Jr., criminal charges are not being filed against Tony Stewart. However, the Ward family has indicated that it will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the three-time Cup champion. Berkowitz and Hanna LLC is watching to see whether Mr. Stewart might settle any case out of court.

If a wrongful death suit is brought, Mr. Stewart could fight the case in court or write a check to the Ward family and possibly keep the amount confidential. In many celebrity lawsuits, settlement is the preferred option because it allows the defendant to move on and not go through a public, civil trial.

If a lawsuit in this case ends up in front of a jury, they would have to decide whether Stewart had a duty to Ward to drive in a certain manner under caution and if he breached that duty. If negligence and wrongful death are found, damages could include Ward’s potential earnings from future races. Berkowitz and Hanna LLC litigates wrongful death cases involving motor vehicles often, but one involving a race car is less typical—and is certainly worth watching.

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Image by Philip Shoffner via Flickr.com