Truck accidents are a very common problem that America is facing. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 400,000 truck accidents occur in the US annually. This is really worrying data, which is why the states are trying in every way to improve the traffic situation and to reduce these statistics. When we talk about truck accidents, we must mention the Tracy Morgan case, which is one of the truck accident cases that America surely remembers.
You must have heard about the case that happened to the famous American comedian and actor Tracy Morgan. That year 2014, on June 7, comedian Tracy Morgan, best known for the sketch comedy Saturday Night Live, and his friend James Jimmy McNair, who was also a comedian, were returning from their performance in Philadelphia. The limousine Tracy and Jimmy were in was hit by a Walmart truck driver around 5 a.m. Tracy Morgan suffered a broken leg and rib and a severe brain injury, and his friend Jimmy McNair died from the injuries. There were four other people in the limousine, including the driver, who also suffered serious injuries, and the driver, like Tracy Morgan, also suffered brain trauma. This was a really bad car accident where one person lost his life and the other passengers’ lives changed due to all the injuries they sustained.
Tracy Morgan and the other passengers who survived suffered serious injuries in this accident, from which they felt the consequences for a long time afterwards. Tracy, who suffered a severe head injury, was initially in a coma for several days after the accident. When he woke up from the coma, he went through several operations – he had surgery on his leg, shoulder, as well as other minor operations due to other injuries. For months after the accident, he had to go through a long and difficult rehabilitation, which was accompanied by frequent headaches and nosebleeds. Because of all these injuries sustained by Tracy and the other passengers, and primarily because Jimmy McNair died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident, the driver of the Walmart truck was sued for reckless and negligent driving that killed one person and endangered the lives of others.
What was the outcome of the Tracy Morgan lawsuit?
A few months after the accident, when Tracy Morgan was in slightly better health, he was the first to file a lawsuit against the Walmart truck driver. The lawsuit claimed the truck driver, Kevin Roper, had been awake for the previous 24 hours. Due to lack of sleep and lack of concentration, he was unable to adequately and safely drive the truck. In addition, the driver of the Walmart truck is also charged with speeding. He was driving at 65 miles per hour. The legal speed limit on that stretch of road is 45 miles per hour. Due to a lack of concentration and excessive speed, Kevin Roper was unable to overcome the truck and stop in time, thereby crashing into the limousine occupied by Tracy Morgan and other passengers.
The lawsuit was filed in 2015. Tracy Morgan sued the truck driver first. After him, the other injured passengers, as well as the family of Jimmy McNair, also sued the truck driver. In 2015, the judgment was passed in favor of the injured. The ruling stated that Walmart has an obligation to pay Tracy Morgan $90 million. As for the other injured, they received smaller amounts, including the limo driver, who received $1.5 million. The Walmart truck driver was also sued by the family of the deceased Jimmy McNair and the outcome was $5 million in punitive damages for the family of the deceased. The driver, Kevin Roper, was also required to complete 600 hours of community service within two years of sentencing.
Tracy Morgan settlement – Walmart settlement
There was no trial in this case, as all parties wanted to avoid further court proceedings. The case was quite clear – the driver who was employed by the Walmart company and whose truck he was driving was guilty for the accident. The case was closed with a settlement, that is, an agreement reached between the plaintiff and the defendant, which means that the procedure ended without a trial. The Tracy Morgan settlement resulted in Walmart and insurers paying $90 million to Morgan’s entire team. However, a few months after the settlement, the case started to get complicated.
Insurers National Indemnity Company, National Liability & Fire Insurance Company and Unirise Insurance Company that insured Walmart against lawsuits related to the case appealed the settlement. They wanted to challenge the settlement because they claimed that the amount of 90 million was too high and that Morgan’s team should settle for a lower amount, in order to reduce their cost in this case. Walmart also appealed the settlement, arguing that their driver was at fault for the accident, but to a lesser extent than presented, and that the amount should be less in accordance with the degree of responsibility. However, after years of negotiations, Walmart and the insurers agreed to pay the full amount previously determined and the case was closed without further dispute.
The importance of a lawyer in such cases
In such cases, it is very important to have a good lawyer who will protect your interests as much as possible if you are the injured party. A personal injury attorney will do everything possible to get you and your family the compensation you deserve if you were involved in a case like this. It is especially important for a lawyer to protect the interests of the family of a person who has passed away, as in the case of Jimmy McNair. What happened to Jimmy is considered a wrongful death under California law. In California, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by a member of the decedent’s family who sustained losses as a result of the decedent’s passing, in accordance with California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.60. It is important that the family of the deceased receive all the help, support and compensation they are entitled to, but above all justice, as they suffered a great loss – a loss of the family member. Wrongful death attorney Los Angeles, Bojat Law Group has years of experience handling wrongful death cases and, in accordance with that, guarantees that you will get everything you are legally entitled to if you are in a similar situation.