Walmart Claims Comparative Negligence Caused Comedian’s Injuries
Remember when comedian Tracy Morgan’s limousine was hit by that Walmart truck? Morgan received serious injuries and there were even rumors that he lost a leg in the accident. It turns out that Walmart says Tracy Morgan is responsible for his injuries under a theory of comparative negligence. What does that mean? Can the mega retailer actually win a case brought on by the comedian?
In case you forgot the details, the Morgan accident occurred in South Jersey this past spring. According to news reports, Morgan was a passenger in the van, together with other comedians. Suddenly and without warning, the Walmart tractor-trailer crashed into the rear of the luxury vehicle. The impact was so severe that it overturned the limousine. Not only was Morgan critically injured, but another comedian died as a result of the tragic accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board is a federal agency that investigates accidents involving tractor-trailers and fatalities. Although their initial report of this accident was preliminary, they indicated the Walmart truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident. In addition, the driver had not slept in the 24 hours prior to the incident. Walmart summarily denies both of these claims. Instead, it says that Morgan’s injuries were due to his own comparative negligence. How so?
Comparative negligence occurs when a victim failed to do, or did something, to contribute to his injuries. In this case, Walmart says that the comedian failed to wear his seatbelt. An expert can determine if Morgan’s failure to wear a seatbelt contributed to his injuries. Even if this is the case, New Jersey law still allows some recovery. As long as the injured party’s negligence is less than the defendant’s, the victim can still recoup money for personal injury. However, the amount may be reduced according to the total award of the case.
Most average citizens are not familiar with the theory of comparative negligence. Like many legal matters, the law can be intimidating to non-attorneys. It can even be confusing to lawyers
who practice in other areas of the law. When confronted with a case involving injury, it is important to speak with an attorney who specializes in accident cases. Contact the law office of Beninato & Matrafajlo to set up a complimentary meeting to discuss your case.