This is an interesting time to be an attorney representing people injured in crashes with semi-tractor trailers or large trucks. For years, safety advocates have raised concerns to Congress about drivers' standards and corporate policies, only to be stymied by lobbyists.
In 2014, noted comedian/TV actor Tracy Morgan was severely injured while riding in a limousine/bus following a performance in Delaware. One of his colleagues died in the crash. To follow this timeline and understand the steps as they make headlines is to see first-hand just how complex and high stakes truck crash cases can be.
Are settlements iron-clad? Not always, particularly when they involve millions of dollars. The Tracy Morgan crash has brought a bright spotlight to the complexity of crashes involving 18-wheelers.
A federal judge has ruled against the Wal-Mart truck driver’s request for a delay in the civil lawsuit brought by parties injured in the 2014 crash. This means that the civil proceedings may overlap with the criminal case the driver faces.
The family of James McNair, the comedian killed in the 2014 crash caused by a Wal-Mart truck driver, reached agreement recently for an undisclosed settlement in their wrongful-death lawsuit against the company.
December 15, 2014
Federal judge rules against delay in Morgan's case vs. WalMart. Read more.
Driver Seeks Delay - The WalMart truck driver who crashed into the vehicle carrying Tracy Morgan and his party has asked for a delay in the lawsuit that Morgan has filed against WalMart in Federal Court. Morgan did not sue the truck driver--only WalMart as his employer. This is a separate proceeding from the criminal charges (one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto) to which the driver has plead not guilty. The driver’s criminal attorney maintains having both the civil and criminal cases ongoing at the same time will violate the driver's constitutional rights as evidence in the WalMart civil case could be used by prosecutors in the driver's criminal case.
The insurance industry and its lawyers attempt to advance the case for WalMart.
WalMart issues a statement blaming Morgan for his own injuries, alleging they could have been prevented had he and all passengers worn seatbelts. Morgan responds with a statement of shock that the victims are being blamed when the driver was clearly operating with fatigue.
On behalf of himself and the other injured passengers, Tracy Morgan files a suit against WalMart for negligence. The suit contends that WalMart, as his employer, had knowledge the driver having gone 24 hours without sleep.
Morgan is treated in a physical rehabilitation hospital for recovery from his injuries.
WalMart truck driver Kevin Roper pleads not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto in a New Brunswick, NJ court room.
At Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey, surgeons mend Morgan's broken leg suffered in the crash, in addition to the comedian's broken femur, nose and several broken ribs. Medical spokespersons called his condition "critical but stable."
On the New Jersey Turnpike near Cranbury, NJ, the limo/bus carrying Tracy Morgan and seven others is rear-ended by an 18-wheeler owned and operated by WalMart. The collision prompts a chain reaction with 4 other cars. Within Morgan's vehicle, colleague James McNair dies of injuries while Morgan and two others suffer significant injuries.
Stay tuned to this page for further developments in this high stakes, high profile case.