A settlement has been reached between retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and comedian Tracy Morgan following a highway crash last year in New Jersey that killed Morgan’s mentor, comedian James McNair, and seriously injured Morgan and two others. A truck driver for Wal-Mart who hadn’t slept in 24 hours and was speeding at 65 mph in a 45 mph construction zone crashed into Morgan’s limousine on the New Jersey turnpike.
The trucker reportedly failed to slow for traffic ahead of him and swerved to avoid a collision, but instead slammed into the limousine.
McNair died at the scene, while Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken legs and broken ribs. He is still in the recovery process, and has yet to return to work. He had hoped to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live for the 40th anniversary of the show in February, but was not yet well enough.
The truck driver is facing criminal charges, including death by auto.
Wal-Mart previously reached a settlement with McNair’s surviving adult children. Both that and the settlements reached with Morgan and two other plaintiffs will remain confidential. Wal-Mart company representatives issued a statement saying they were “committed to doing what’s right.” Shortly after the settlement was announced, Morgan conducted his first television interview, and praised Wal-Mart for the “amicable” settlement and for “doing right” by himself, his family and the other plaintiffs.
While it is true many trucking accident lawsuits do end in settlements, we cannot always say those are “amicable.” This was a high-profile crash. Those involved were beloved comedians. Defendants in this case knew the nation was watching, and they did not wish to appear heartless and catch the public’s wrath.
We’re glad the settlement process with the retailer was amicable. However, we also know that’s not typically how it goes in these matters. Defendants often vigorously fight to limit liability in these cases, even when it comes to wrongful death and even when fault and causation is clear.
Our Boca Raton trucking accident lawyers fight aggressively for client rights at every phase of the process, including pre-trial. Defendants need to know we are ready and willing to proceed to that level if necessary to obtain fair compensation for our injury clients.
Just last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its annual report on Large Trucks, which revealed there were nearly 4,000 people killed in large truck crashes in 2013, which is an increase from the year before. The vast majority of those killed – more than 70 percent – were the occupants of other vehicles. Another 11 percent were non-occupants (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists). Another 95,000 people were injured.
In Florida alone that year, there were 187 large truck fatal crashes involving 3,358 vehicles.
And while truck drivers do often pride themselves on professionalism, they tend to have worse driving records than most. In fact, the NHTSA report points out 15 percent of large truck drivers report having at least one previously-recorded crash. That’s higher than any other type of driver, including motorcyclists (13 percent), passenger car drivers (12.8 percent) and light truck operators (12.4 percent).
What’s more, large truck drivers also had a greater likelihood of a prior speeding ticket, as compared to the rest of the driving public at-large.
At The Hollander Law Firm, we take these claims – and your rights – with the utmost seriousness. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you recover damages.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7777 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Wal-Mart, Tracy Morgan, Reach Settlement of Lawsuit, May 27, 2015, By David Porter, Associated Press
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Locke v. Estate of Davis – Car Accident Lawsuits and Probate, June 3, 2015, Boca Raton Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog