Venus Williams alleges victim was not wearing seat belt during fatal crash

The tennis star is fighting back in court against a wrongful death lawsuit.

July 26, 2017, 9:03 AM

— -- Venus Williams is claiming that the victim who died in the fatal car crash she was involved in last month was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The tennis star, 37, was driving to her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on June 9 when the collision occurred. Two weeks later, Jerome Barson, 78, succumbed to injuries he sustained in the crash. Barson's daughter filed a lawsuit against Williams, alleging wrongful death action, and is seeking damages in excess of $15,000, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by ABC News.

Williams is fighting back in court, alleging that Jerome Barson was not wearing a seat belt at the time of accident, arguing in court documents filed last Friday that the victim's injuries were caused "by the unreasonable failure of the Plaintiff to use an available and operational seat belt at the time of the accident."

Williams also claims that Jerome Barson "failed to adequately maintain and repair the vehicle." Williams' latest legal move also asks for Barson's autopsy report and medical records.

The Barsons' family attorney, Michael Steinger, told ABC News that his clients' car was a brand new 2016 Hyundai and was in "perfect working order." He also refutes the claim that the Barsons, -- Jerome Barson's wife, Linda Barson, was driving at the time of the accident -- were not wearing seat belts.

The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department confirmed to ABC News overnight that their investigation indicates that the Barsons were wearing seat belts when the accident occurred. Police are still investigating the fatal crash.

After the collision and Barson's death, Malcolm Cunningham, an attorney for Williams, noted in a statement to ABC News that authorities did not issue her any citations and that "Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."

ABC News' Michael Rothman contributed to this report

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