The agreement has been reached and Wal-Mart will be paying large sums to Tracy Morgan and the other victims of the truck accident that left one comedian dead. One year ago, you likely saw the story right here in Saint Petersburg, after Morgan nearly joined his deceased friend. Fortunately, he has made a lot of gains in the year since the accident. In interviews, he was seen relying on a cane to walk.
Morgan admits that he has watched, and re-watched, the accident footage on YouTube, because of the heartbreak related to the loss of his friend and fellow comedian. It was obvious that he is suffering, that the man who was once bubbling over with humor, is now battling a lot of physical and emotional turmoil.
He says now that Wal-Mart has done right by him and his family. After many months of medical care and ongoing therapy to regain full use of his extremities, he has undoubtedly racked up large amounts in medical bills.
It was June 7 of last year that the serious crash took place involving a Walmart box truck in New Jersey. Morgan was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He suffered a bad break to his upper leg, the femur bone. Additionally, he cracked many ribs and suffered extensive bruising all over his body. The hit to the head resulted in a traumatic brain injury, which Morgan is expected to overcome, but it still causes him severe headaches and nose bleeds one year later. For two weeks, family and loved ones looked on with worry as he remained in a coma state. It wasn’t until June 20, according to Wikipedia, that Morgan was moved to a rehabilitation center for assistance in strengthening his leg. He remained there for three weeks before being sent home.
Though his recovery, which is not yet over, has been rough, Morgan was adamant that his fate was far superior to that of his friend, who he still mourns daily. So, what could have caused such a horrendous accident?
It wasn’t a mechanical failure, distracted driving, drugs or alcohol to blame. Rather it was simply that the driver of the Wal-Mart cargo truck had grown overly fatigued. It was the wee hours of the morning and the driver had succumbed to his exhaustion, allowing his eyes to droop closed momentarily. That’s all it took. Just a few seconds of giving in to the fatigue. That’s all it took to take a life, and to seriously injure four other people.
Was the trucking company to blame? Was this employee being overworked? According to the legal trucking limits, the driver was allowed to be behind the wheel. Drivers are allowed to work 14 hours per day, 11 of those on the road legally. While nearing those limits, Roper hadn’t yet gone past them.
It is important to understand that federal law is in place to reduce the risk of fatigue-related trucking accidents, but this does not guarantee that these men and women will not succumb to drowsiness on a St. Petersburg highway in the middle of the night, when they have been driving for nine or ten hours.
While Morgan was good to commend Wal-Mart on their efforts to correct the situation, he does have every legal right to hire a personal injury attorney and seek that compensation from the company who employed the driver. An accident like this has undoubtedly cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages already. And, given that the recovery time is not yet complete, he will undoubtedly continue to suffer financial loss until the Wal-Mart funds are paid.