On Monday, September 29, 2014, Walmart released an official response to a lawsuit filed by Tracy Morgan and three others injured in a July truck accident. In the 28-page response, Walmart evaded many of the claims made against the company and the company's driver by pointing the finger at Morgan. According to court documents, Walmart alleged that Morgan's injuries were caused by his failure to wear a seat belt.
After news of the response, Walmart issued a statement on Tuesday that it is working to resolve the lawsuit. The company also stated that because of an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, it would not discuss details about the accident and truck driver Kevin Roper.
In July, actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured in an 18-wheeler accident that killed a fellow comedian and injured several others. Morgan and others were returning from stand-up comedy show in Delaware when the limo bus they were traveling in was rear-ended by a commercial Walmart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. After the accident, Morgan and other victims filed a personal injury lawsuit against Walmart. Roper also faced criminal charges.
HOS Regulations & Truck Driver Fatigue
The lawsuit stated that Walmart's negligence contributed significantly to the accident and injuries Morgan and other passengers suffered. The lawsuit cited several examples of Walmart's negligence, including the company's failures to comply with hours-of-service regulations against driver fatigue. According to the lawsuit, Roper, the driver of the Walmart truck, commuted 750 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware before working almost 14 hours driving a company truck. At the time of the accident, the driver had been awake for over 24 hours and had been driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
Overworked and tired truck drivers pose a danger to everyone on the road, as many studies have found that driving tired can be as dangerous, if not more, than driving drunk. When a tired driver is the behind the wheel of a massive commercial truck, the risk for serious injury and death only increase. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (estimates) reported that driver fatigue plays a role in an estimated 40 percent of trucking accidents.
If you have questions about 18-wheeler accidents, truck driver fatigue, and your rights after suffering preventable injuries, contact The Daspit Law Firm to learn how we can help.