The Tracy Morgan accident involved a collision between the limo that Morgan, a famous actor and comedian, was in and a large Walmart truck. This happened in New Jersey, in 2014. Morgan was on the way back from a performance at the time. The truck driver, Kevin Roper, who was feeling the effects of fatigue at the time of the accident (reportedly), struck the back of the limousine, which resulted in a deadly accident involving six cars.
Tracy Morgan suffered a brain injury in this collision, a broken leg, and fractured ribs. The other people that were in the limousine also suffered serious injuries, and Morgan’s friend James McNair unfortunately died. The truck driver eventually pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the aftermath of the crash. As he pleaded guilty, he was able to avoid going to prison, but instead he had to serve 300 hours of community service. This also meant that he was able to avoid going to a trial completely, and all criminal charges would be dropped.
The driver of the truck did not have to go to jail, but Walmart was still seen as being at fault for the accident. This was because it was found out that the driver had not slept for over 24 hours before the crash! Specific terms and details of the lawsuit remain confidential as they usually do, but the children of James McNair reportedly received $10 million in a settlement in 2015.
Court documents that were released after this stated that Walmart’s total payout was 90% to Morgan and one other passenger’s (Ardley Fuqua) claims. This has led to speculation that the settlement for Tracy Morgan and the other passenger could be upwards of $90 million.
Morgan has made a good recovery since the accident and has since returned to work. He did say however, in an interview that he has good days and bad days. He also went on to say that even though it has been some years since the accident, he still has occasional memory loss and headaches. Brain injuries such as the one Morgan sustained have been linked strongly with memory loss in the past.
In this case, there was actually an inquiry into the amount of money that was paid out to Morgan and the other passenger, as the two insurance companies that cover Walmart felt that Morgan exaggerated his injuries in order to get more money. They wanted Morgan to sit for a seven hour deposition in order to question him about the incident, but the actor is refusing.
This is an interesting turn of events in this case as it was reported that Walmart settled the pay-outs directly and are now trying to get reimbursed from their insurance companies. Walmart stated that they wanted to make sure that they did the right thing to help the parties that were involved in the accident, but are now facing issues with getting their money back.
The insurance companies feel that since Morgan and the other passenger were the main reason for the lawsuit, that they must have their depositions in order to fully evaluate the case. This is still ongoing as the back and forward between Morgan’s lawyers and the insurance companies are going back and forth. Walmart all the while do not seem to be any closer to getting their money back.
How Is The Money Distributed?
Typically, when such a large amount of money is involved in a personal injury settlement, the money is not sent out in one huge lump sum. Rather, a specific payment structure is set up to distribute the money at an agreed rate, over a specified amount of time. This is done until the full agreed amount is reached and the claim is fully settled. For some (maybe most?) plaintiffs, this isn’t the method that they would ideally choose, and they would definitely prefer to receive more if not all of the money straight away. They see it as their money and want to have access to the full amount and the options that it would give to them.
What do you think of this legal case? Do you think the injured parties got too little, too much, or the right amount of money? Should the truck driver have been penalised more for killing an innocent person? Clinked would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!