The legal ramifications following the tragic loss of sprint car driver, Kevin Ward Jr., in August 2014 have yet to be resolved for Tony Stewart.
In late September of 2014, a Grand Jury in New York determined that there was no basis for criminal charges against Stewart following the highly controversial death the of 20-year-old racing driver.
Since that ruling, Ward's family has filed civil suits against the NASCAR pro, citing wrongful death. The latest hearings in the case are scheduled for the week of May 16th and are set to determine if Stewart's insurance company is legally required to represent him in the cases.
According to Beyond The Flag, the case is an immensely complicated one, that is hinged on a technicality contained in the policy issued by Axis - the insurance provider.
The original policy contained exclusionary clauses related to incidents arising between "racing vehicle drivers". The excerpt from the policy states:
"This insurance does not apply to claims or actions brought by one racing vehicle driver against another racing vehicle driver. However in the event of such a claim or action, coverage remains in effect for the First Named Insured and any other applicable insureds; however, coverage is specifically excluded for the racing vehicle driver who is the object of such claim or action."
Stewart's camp claims that the insurer is required to provide coverage based on the logic that once Ward had exited his vehicle, he was no longer a "racing vehicle driver".
Now, it appears that a huge weight of legal costs is going to hinge on the court's finding for how to define what is (and is not) a "racing vehicle driver" since the policy did not specifically identify what qualifies a person as a "racing vehicle driver".
These kind of exclusions are normal for policies covering drivers in motorsports as they frequently get into altercations with one another.
This is just the very beginning of the cases Ward's family have filed against Stewart in light of him being absolved of any wrongdoing by a Grand Jury.
What do you think of this case? Should his insurance company cover him?