Nationally known comedian Tracy Morgan recently sued Walmart for an accident that left one person dead and several people hospitalized. On June 7, a truck driver for Walmart plowed into a limousine van carrying Tracy Morgan and several others. The accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike in the early morning hours. Tracy Morgan was seriously injured, suffering multiple fractures, and was hospitalized for a lengthy period and is now undergoing rehabilitation. Another comedian in the vehicle, James McNair, was killed.
According to investigators, the driver was going 65 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone when the accident occurred. The driver is from Georgia, and had commuted 700 miles from his home in Georgia to a Walmart facility in Delaware before beginning his shift. It’s alleged that the driver had not slept for more than 24 hours before the crash, which is a violation of New Jersey law. The driver is alleged to have fallen asleep at the wheel immediately before the crash. The driver has been charged with death by auto and assault by auto, and has pled not guilty.
Tracy Morgan recently sued Walmart for his injuries. His lawsuit alleges that the driver had been on the job about 13 ½ hours when the crash occurred. By federal law, truck drivers are allowed to work up to 14 hours a day, but only 11 of those hours can be behind the wheel. Morgan’s lawsuit alleges that Walmart knew or should have known that the driver had been awake for over 24 hours when the crash occurred. The lawsuit also alleges that there were many Walmart distribution facilities at which the driver could have worked, including nine in Georgia alone, which would have reduced his commute to work. Walmart is also alleged to regularly turn a blind eye to workers who break regulations on shift limits which are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
This accident is a tragic example of what can happen when exhausted truck drivers hit the roads. Tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and a typical car weighs around 5,000 pounds. When a truck driver ignores the law and drives too long, leading to fatigue, the truck can turn into a deadly weapon.
In response to the accident, a New York Senator is pushing forward plans to try to keep exhausted truck drivers off the roads. A requirement that trucking companies use electronic logging devices to log the hours driven, rather than writing them manually, has been in the works for a long time. Also, a law has been passed requiring trucks to have black boxes similar to those used in airplanes, but the law has not been implemented on schedule. The Senator is asking that those laws be implemented, and that trucking companies be required to maintain larger insurance policies in the event of a big accident.
Tragically, the statistics for accidents involving tractor trailers have been rising the last five years. In 2012, close to 4,000 people were injured, and over 100,000 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks.
If you have been injured in a tractor trailer accident, you have the legal right to compensation, which may include money for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that companies who attempt to save money by using fatigued and overworked truck drivers to deliver their products should be held liable for damages when those truck drivers get involved in accidents.
Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco tractor trailer accident attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 if you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer. She will work hard on your behalf so that you can obtain the compensation you deserve. Call to schedule your free consultation.