Despite initial assurances from Wal-Mart that they would take full responsibility for the New Jersey accident that injured Tracy Morgan and killed a passenger in the limousine in which they were riding, a responsive filing by the retailer in the federal lawsuit partly blamed both Morgan and the other injured passengers for failing to wear their seat belts. The filing was made in response to a federal lawsuit initiated by Morgan in July following the fatal crash that occurred in June.
Morgan and his passengers were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Wal-Mart truck driver crashed into their limousine. At the time of the accident, the truck driver had logged 13 1/2 hours of driving time, which is within federally allowed limits. However, the driver had been awake for more than 24 hours prior to the crash, a fact of which Wal-Mart should have been aware of, according to the suit against the retailer.
Morgan’s attorneys contend that the commute itself was unreasonable and placed others in potential danger. A few minutes prior to the crash, the truck driver was reportedly traveling at 65 mph through a construction zone that had a posted work zone speed limit of 45 mph.
Truck drivers owe a higher duty of care to others on the road. Even if some partial responsibility is assigned to a victim of a truck accident, juries may assign comparative values of fault, with the primarily responsible person accorded the greatest percentage of liability in an accident. Comparative negligence laws potentially allow victims to recover a reduced amount of compensation in accordance to the percentage of negligence he or she attributed to the crash.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Walmart: Tracy Morgan Partly To Blame In Truck Accident Because He Wasn’t Wearing Seatbelt“, David Porter, September 30, 2014