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Barson v. Venus Williams: What We Know So Far

On June 9, 37-year-old Venus Williams was driving her 2010 Toyota Sequoia northbound on Steeplechase Drive/Ballenisles Drive at about 5 miles per hour. Then-67-year-old Linda Barson was driving westbound in a 2016 Hyundai Accent on Northlake Boulevard. Her 78-year-old husband, Jerome, was in the passenger seat.

 

According to reports, the Barsons stopped for a red light. When the light turned green, they continued through the intersection. That’s when the Sequoia driven by Williams cut in front of them. Linda Barson said she was unable to avoid the collision.

Williams claimed she entered the intersection when the light was green, but got stopped by backed-up traffic. She said she continued through the intersection when traffic moved, and did not see the Barton’s Accent before crossing their lane.

Official police reports state that Williams is at fault for the accident. The report states Williams violated the Barsons’ right-of-way. She has not been charged with any crime at this point.

Injuries and Property Damage:

Venus Williams reported no serious injuries. Linda Barson suffered a cracked sternum, broken right wrist, shattered right arm, and broken right hand and fingers. She required hospitalization, but survived her injuries.

Jerome Barson suffered massive internal bleeding, massive internal organ damage, severed main arteries, a fractured spine and head trauma. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for two weeks and underwent multiple surgeries, but he eventually died from his injuries on June 22 — Linda Barson’s 68th birthday. The Barsons were married for over 33 years.

Both vehicles sustained damage in the collision. Williams’s Sequoia was reportedly “severely damaged.” The reports of damage to the Barsons’ Accent was more specific. Their vehicle was crushed. The front windshield was shattered, there was damage to the rear of the car on the driver’s side, the back window was shattered and the airbag was deployed.

The Legal Battle:

After her husband succumbed to his injuries, Linda Barson filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging negligence on Williams’s part.

Michael Steinger, attorney for the Barson family, said, “Mrs. Barson is suffering intense grief and doesn’t know how she will go on. Her husband of [33] years was struck by Venus Williams, who was at fault in a car accident, which ultimately resulted in Mr. Barson being hospitalized 14 days with multiple surgeries which resulted in his death.”

On June 30, Williams posted a statement to her Facebook page, stating: “I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”

Both vehicles were equipped with “black boxes” that recorded data at the time of the accident. Steinger did plan to investigate this data. However, Williams and her legal team were able to obtain an emergency court order preventing this investigation. They argued that Steinger’s planned download of this data could fail, and the data would be lost.

The vehicles were instead jointly investigated by experts for both the defendant and the plaintiff.

The results of those investigations showed that Williams accelerated to 20 miles per hour in about four seconds to get through the intersection, causing the Barsons to T-bone her. As such, officials are saying she caused the crash, but she is not being cited for it.

Williams’s legal team claimed the Barsons were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, which led to the severity of their injuries. They also claimed the elderly couple did not properly maintain their car. However, the black box data disproved both of these claims.

Steinger also responded to the claims about the maintenance of the car, saying, “Our client’s vehicle is actually a brand new 2016 Hyundai, which the inspection papers can prove was in perfect working order.”

No court date has been set for this case as of yet.

If you have been injured in a car accident in West Palm Beach caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have legal rights. Contact the experienced attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner today for a free, no-obligation consultation.