In 2014, a Wal-Mart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike crashed into a vehicle transporting actor Tracy Morgan and comedian James McNair. The truck accident left McNair dead and Morgan with a serious traumatic brain injury. In 2015, Morgan was awarded roughly $90 million for his injuries. Since then, Morgan has been involved in a legal battle with the insurance company that paid his settlement. Morgan was recently asked to testify under oath regarding the settlement, but has refused to do so.
Wal-Mart’s insurer, Ohio Casualty, has accused Morgan of taking advantage of the system, alleging that his future earnings were not as compromised as much as he claimed. The company has demanded that Morgan turn over medical records, income statements, prescriptions and other financial records to help them prove their allegations.
Ohio Casualty is also seeking to depose Ardley Fuqua, a friend of Morgan’s who was riding in the limo bus with Morgan when the accident occurred.
What Caused Tracy Morgan’s Truck Accident?
Truck driver Kevin Roper was blamed for the accident. He was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. The National Transportation Safety Board said that Roper had driven 800 miles from his home in Georgia to his workplace in Delaware before attempting to drive further north without having slept. The accident involved 21 people and six vehicles.
Roper had been on duty for 13 and a half hours out of his 14-hour shift, but had been awake for more than 28 hours when the crash occurred.
At the time, Wal-Mart did not have a structured fatigue management program in place, though they did discuss the issue of driver fatigue during training. Since then, Wal-Mart has taken steps to bolster its driver fatigue education and policies.
Though Roper was assigned most of the blame for the accident, the NTSB pointed out that he was not fully to blame for the severity of injuries. No one inside the limo bus was wearing a seat belt. Additionally, the limo bus had been modified, delaying evacuation from the vehicle. Emergency responders also fell short, failing to obtain appropriate medical resources in a timely fashion as well as moving occupants of the limo without having properly restrained and stabilized them.