Most people in California were devastated by news of the bus-truck accident last year that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan. Most of the these same people will be relieved to learn that Morgan and Wal-Mart have announced a settlement of Morgan's claims arising out of the accident.
On June 7 last year, Morgan was returning from a performance in Atlantic City when his limo bus was rear-ended on the New Jersey Turnpike by a Wal-Mart 18-wheeler. Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken leg and broken ribs. Morgan has undergone several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation since the accident. Comedian and writer James McNair was killed in the collision, and several other passengers on the bus suffered non-fatal injuries.
Truck driver fatigue may have been a factor as police alleged that the driver of the Wal-Mart truck had not slept for at least 24 hours prior to the accident. Police also said that he was speeding when he collided with Morgan's vehicle. The driver was charged with vehicular homicide and related crimes. He pled not guilty to all of the charges, and the criminal case has not been resolved.
McNair's children settled their claims for their father's death earlier this year. Now Morgan and Wal-Mart have announced a complete settlement of Morgan's claims. As is typical in such cases, the terms of the settlement were not announced. Morgan said that "Wal-Mart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably." Morgan's attorneys stated that Wal-Mart took "full responsibility" for the accident. Wal-Mart's president said that the company has been "committed to doing what's right to help ensure the well-being of all of those who were impacted by the accident."
This case shows once again that even fame and talent do not guarantee protection from traumatic events. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a similar incident can understand the devastating effect of this accident on Morgan, the McNair family, and the many others whose lives were affected. While the clock cannot be turned back, the recovery of money damages can often provide significant assistance with the payment of medical costs when, as appears to be the case with Morgan, long-term medical is required. Any person affected by such a calamity may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in such cases for an evaluation of the case and an estimate of the chanches of recovering money damages from the parties at fault.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tracy Morgan, Wal-Mart reach settlement in deadly New Jersey Turnpike crash,"James Queally, May 28, 2015