Tracy Morgan and Walmart Reach Settlement Over Truck Accident
Nearly a year after Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan was severely injured in an accident involving a Walmart truck driver, Walmart has reached a settlement with the comedian for an undisclosed amount.
Although terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Morgan seems pleased with the outcome. In a statement, he said, “Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful the case was resolved amicably.” Walmart’s U.S. president Greg Foran said, “While we know there is nothing that can change what happened, Walmart has been committed to doing what’s right to help ensure the well-being of all those who were impacted by the accident.”
On June 7, 2014, Morgan, along with comedians James McNair and Ardie Fuqua, and some of their business associates and family members were traveling in a limo bus on the New Jersey Turnpike when they were hit by a truck driven by a driver working for Walmart. 63-year-old James McNair was killed in the accident while Morgan and other passengers were injured. Morgan sustained a broken leg, a broken nose, and broken ribs from the accident and in November 2014, it was announced that he was fighting to recover from a traumatic brain injury caused by the accident. In March 2015, the family of James McNair reached a $10 million settlement with Walmart.
Investigations into the truck accident found that truck driver Kevin Roper of Georgia had been awake for over 24 hours at the time of the accident. In the state of New Jersey, driving without having slept in 24 hours is considered reckless driving. If someone is killed in an accident with a driver who has gone so long without sleep, the driver can be charged with vehicular homicide. Roper was charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Morgan filed a lawsuit against Walmart in July 2014, claiming Walmart should have known that Roper had gone so long without sleep and was negligent by allowing him to be out on the road. Walmart argued that Morgan and the passengers were at least partially at fault for their injuries because they weren’t wearing seatbelts, prompting Morgan to issue a statement saying, “I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused. My friends and I were doing nothing wrong.”
With the traumatic brain injury he sustained in the accident, it’s not yet known whether or not Morgan will be able to return to acting and performing. He hasn’t made any public appearances since the accident, although he had hoped to be well enough to make an appearance at Saturday Night Live’s recent 40th anniversary special. An attorney representing Morgan explained, “When you have a traumatic brain injury, it takes a very long time to find out how you’re going to do and how much you’re going to recover. You just don’t know…He’s fighting to get better and if there’s a chance for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that.” At the time of the truck accident, Morgan had been getting ready to start working on a new show for the FXX network, but plans for the show were put on hold after the accident.
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