Venus Williams Responds to Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Deadly Car Crash

Tennis star claims man who was killed in crash was not wearing seatbelt, that car was not maintained

Tennis star Venus Williams responded to a wrongful death lawsuit after a deadly car crash, saying man was not wearing seat belt. Credit: Getty

Venus Williams filed new court documents countering a wrongful death lawsuit by the Barson family. Williams claimed that Jerome Barson, the man who was killed after their automobile collision last month, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. She also claimed that Barson's vehicle was not maintained up to the legal standard. 

Jerome Barson's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the tennis star after the accident, claiming Williams was responsible for the accident. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department initially said Williams was at fault for violating the right of way until security footage emerged proving she legally entered the intersection.

"The injuries and/or damages to the plaintiff solely and/or proximately caused by the unreasonable failure of the plaintiff to use an available and operational seat belt at the time of the accident and therefore the plaintiff's recovery should be barred or reduced accordingly," Williams' lawyer wrote in the filing.

However, the attorneys representing the Barson family told PEOPLE that data from the 2016 Hyundai Accent shows both Linda and Jerome were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department supported the claim, telling ABC News that their own investigation indicates they were both wearing seatbelts. The Barson family’s attorney responded to the claim that their car wasn’t properly maintained as well by saying the vehicle was in "perfect working order." 

The Barson family recently requested Williams’ phone records to see if she was distracted after security footage showed her moving her hand towards her face prior to the collision. According to a number of reports, though, Williams has not submitted them.