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Alright, I am coming out of the closet for this article.  Get your attention?  Yeah, I thought so.  

I am a lover…………………of all things NASCAR.  

My grandfather was on the ground level of NASCAR back in the 1960’s, and I inherited his passion for NASCAR racing.  I attend at least 10 races every year.  Out of full disclosure, my limits of expertise on cars involve filling one with gas and knowing how to clean spilled Cheez-It’s from the crack between the seat and console.

I practice personal injury law for a living.  You didn’t see that one coming either, right?  In fact, I only represent Plaintiffs in personal injury actions.  I have been involved in countless car accident and wrongful death lawsuits.  

One recently filed lawsuit has peaked my inner Dale Earnhardt competitiveness.  The lawsuit was filed by the family of Kevin Ward against Tony Stewart for the wrongful death of their son.

In case you missed that news, just over one year ago on August 9, 2014 at Canandaigua (NY) Motorsports Park, Kevin Ward was struck and killed by a sprint car driven by Tony Stewart while Ward took exception with being [allegedly] wrecked by Stewart.  

Almost one year to the date of the tragic accident, Ward’s family sued Tony Stewart claiming wrongful death, reckless conduct, gross negligence, and pain and suffering.  The lawsuit was filed in New York.  No specific amount of money was asked for in the lawsuit.

Because the accident occurred in New York, the laws of that state will apply.  New York, like my home state of Georgia, is a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction.  How is that for a big fancy legal term?

Let me put that in real words for people like me.  That means that both parties can be found at fault.  For instance, if a jury awards $100,000; places 90% blame on Kevin Ward and 10% on Tony Stewart; then Kevin Ward’s family would be entitled to $10,000.  Simply put, the amount awarded is reduced by the percentage of fault placed upon the Plaintiff.  

Car racers have one goal in mind when on the track.  WIN THE RACE.  The grassroots traces of stock car racing, specifically NASCAR, are found all over the hills of Appalachia.  Bootleggers ran from law enforcement in their cars to win their race for profits via illegally produced corn liquor.

Today is a new era in racing and any illegality will not be tolerated.  Substance abuse is one such affliction that is not tolerated on the race track.  

News was released shortly after the accident that Kevin Ward had enough marijuana in his system to affect his abilities.  Racers take inherent risks while on the track.  One of those risks is being injured or killed in a crash.  There should be no risk that they are racing against inebriated racers.

I don’t know Tony Stewart.  I have met him.  I was probably the 3 millionth person he’d met in his racing career.  He is no different than any other successful racer.  His sights were set upon winning that race.  A terrible accident occurred that day in Canandaigua, New York.  A terrible accident that could have been avoided had another racer not been racing with marijuana in his system.  

Cade Parian and The Parian Law Firm, LLC represent people nationwide in personal injury and dangerous pharmaceutical litigation.  Cade Parian has been featured in numerous national publications for his passion for NASCAR and legal issues associated with motorsports.  He can be reached by e-mailing

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