On June 7, 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan rode in a vehicle with several other friends and comedians as it traveled on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan was in a bus when the bus was involved in a six-vehicle collision that was allegedly started by a semi-truck which was owned and operated by Wal-Mart. As a result of the truck accident, several people were seriously injured and one man lost his life.
Now, according to court documents, Wal-Mart has settled a portion of the claim brought by the family of the man who lost his life to the tune of $10 million.
The victims involved who were with Morgan in the bus brought claims for their injuries and alleged that the driver of the Wal-Mart semi-truck had not slept in more than 24 hours and that he fell asleep while behind the wheel, causing the collision that left them damaged. The victims further claimed that Wal-Mart, as the driver’s employer and the owner of the truck at issue, knew or should have known of the driver’s condition and that their failure to take action was negligent.
The crash left Morgan, best known for his acting on the TV shows “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” with a broken leg, broken nose, and several broken ribs as well as a traumatic brain injury. Morgan’s leg was particularly damaged and required surgical repair as well as rehabilitative treatment that the comedian is still undergoing at this time. In addition to Morgan, two other comedians and two bus employees were injured. A third comedian, James McNair, was killed in the crash.
The surviving family members of James McNair brought suit alleging wrongful death and made a claim against the semi driver and Wal-Mart. In January of 2015, the family’s attorney announced that a settlement had been reached with Wal-Mart but that the amount was confidential. Recent court documents disclosed the amount as $10 million, a settlement that will go to McNair’s family members to compensate them for their losses, though no amount of money can ever be considered adequate when a person is killed.
The recently disclosed settlement reflects an agreement to end the claim by the family of James McNair only and does not terminate the claims made by Morgan or the other individuals harmed in the accident.