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Recent Truck Accident Case Illustrates the Importance of Retaining Skilled Legal Assistance

May 19, 2015 - Truck Accidents by

Any injury victim can experience extreme legal challenges after suffering injuries caused by the negligence of other parties. A recent trucking accident that injured a famous comedian and killed another passenger illustrates why skilled legal support is vital — particularly when liability falls to large companies with teams of dedicated lawyers.

The Tracy Morgan Truck Accident Claim Faces Legal Challenges

According to a CNN report, in June, 2014, a Walmart truck rear-ended a limo bus in New Jersey, killing one passenger and injuring three. Comedian Tracy Morgan was severely injured in the crash and he filed a lawsuit against the company about a month after the accident. Although the driver faces criminal charges, he is not named in Morgan’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit specifically alleges Walmart’s reckless or intentional conduct for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Walmart knew or should have known the driver, who fell asleep at the wheel, was awake for more than 24 hours, particularly considering his 700-mile commute from home before going on duty.
  • Walmart did not fail to condemn the practice of driving more hours than permitted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In fact, the suit alleges that the company condoned the practice.
  • Although the truck was equipped with a collision-avoidance system, which should have automatically started braking when sensing slowing traffic, it failed to operate. Walmart knew or should have known the system was compromised.

Although they later tried to soften their response within the media, the Walmart attorneys’ official legal response was to blame Morgan and the other accident victims for not wearing seat belts.

State Contributory Negligence Laws can Affect Lawsuit Results

Establishing fault for a truck accident injury is not always clear-cut. When the defendant alleges and proves any degree of liability on the part of victims, questions of contributory negligence come into play.

Assuming Walmart wins this argument — even if the parties in the Morgan lawsuit prevail in their claims — NJ modified comparative fault law could reduce the claim by the percentage the courts deem that the victims’ lack of seatbelts caused their injuries. However, if the case took place in North Carolina, the state’s pure contributory negligence law might completely prevent the victims from pursuing any compensation whatsoever.

Of course, it is too early to determine the effect that Walmart’s claim will have on this legal case. It is clear from news reports, however, that the company wants to keep the case out of court, preferring to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Considering statistics indicating that about 95 percent of pending lawsuits end in pre-trial settlements, this case may never see the inside of a courtroom.

Even Obvious Injury Claims Require Skilled Legal Representation

Even seemingly-obvious trucking accident cases can undergo challenges when large companies use every possible tactic to claim fault on the part of injury victims. These cases require support from experienced Charlotte truck accident attorneys dedicated to seeking justice. For the diligent representation needed by accident victims going against powerful opponents, call us at 844-452-3688 or use our convenient online contact form.