Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Venus Williams Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Venus Williams can finally exhale. The wrongful death suit filed against her by the family of Jerome Barson has been settled, though details of the settlement have not been disclosed.

The Accident

Williams was involved in a fatal car accident in June of 2017. She swerved and stopped in an intersection to avoid someone making a dangerous left turn. But when she proceeded through the intersection, she was t-boned by a driver coming perpendicular to her car. The passenger in that third car, Jerome Barson, suffered severe injuries and died two weeks later.

Williams Not at Fault

Based on surveillance footage, Williams was cleared of any wrongdoing, since she had the right of way to clear the intersection that she had entered when the light was green. Barson had illegally entered the intersection; even though she had a green light; state laws dictate that you can proceed into an intersection with a green light only after making sure that the road is clear.

Was Williams Negligent, or Guilty of Being Rich?

Given that Williams was cleared of any wrongdoing, it was quizzical that the Barsons filed a wrongful death suit, though perhaps they thought negligence was a low enough standard under which to prevail. Then again, maybe they were jaded by Williams' net worth, which is estimated at $95 million. Both sides conducted discovery, including downloading data from one another's car systems. Williams had clearly been upset about the incident. When reporters questioned her about the incident in July of 2017 at Wimbledon, she broke down in tears and responded, "There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and -- yeah. I'm completely speechless."

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