Several weeks ago, we wrote about the truck accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair. With a settlement finally secured in the case against Walmart, this is a good time to reflect on the damage truck accidents can do to the victims and their families. James McNair lost his life and Tracy Morgan has such a severe traumatic brain injury that his attorney has publicly stated that he may never be the same again.
The family of James McNair successfully secured a settlement from Walmart, although the specific amount has not been publicly disclosed. An attorney representing the case said that the family was happy with the settlement, and that Walmart “accepted their responsibility by making this family more than whole”. Walmart responded to the claim by saying that it had not accepted responsibility for the truck accident.
Is Walmart Responsible for the Truck Accident?
We do not know who shares the greatest amount of responsibility for what happened because the terms of the settlement and ongoing litigation are kept confidential, but some information has been made public.
Information released by authorities after the crash occurred shows that Walmart’s driver had been awake for over 24 hours and going 20 mph over the speed limit.
In summer of 2014, when the truck accident occurred, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service regulations were still in effect. The hours-of-service regulations specify that truck drivers cannot work more than 70 hours over eight days and must include a 34-hour break once a week. Drivers also must take a 30-minute break at some point during the first eight hours of their shift. Any existing litigation will probably look into whether Walmart’s driver violated the hours-of-service regulations.
Another factor that may point to either negligent or reckless driving was that the driver of the Walmart truck was speeding at the time of the accident. The Walmart driver has pled not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving.
Even with hours-of-service changes and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration carrying out further research to reduce the number of truck accidents, the Walmart accident shows that they still kill and catastrophically injure Americans every year.
Spevack Law Firm has decades of experience defending people who have been injured in auto accidents. We invite our readers to like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter account to become a part of our community.
Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Injury Attorneys
Did You Know?: In late 2014, Congress repealed portions of the hours-of-service policy put in place to help prevent truck driver fatigue.