While comedian Tracy Morgan still recovers from brain injuries after a semi truck accident, justice is finally served for the family of James McNair, who died after the crash.
The accident occurred on June 7 on the New Jersey Turnpike when a Walmart truck collided with the limo van that was carrying Morgan, McNair and others home from a show in Delaware. The other two passengers in the accident were also injured.
Lawyers in the case have finally reached a settlement between Walmart, whose truck caused the accident, and McNair’s family. The retail chain will pay a settlement of $10 million to McNair’s family and two children, Jamel, 26, and Denita, 19.
McNair, a comedian also known as Uncle Jimmy Mack, was a friend and mentor to Morgan and was a writer for his standup material as well.
“Serious traumatic brain injuries usually have lifelong consequences. Not only will Tracy Morgan be living with the disability from his injury for years to come, but this could seriously impact his cognitive abilities and personality which are so important to this man,” said Gary Burger, partner and attorney at Cantor & Burger, LLC. “It is important for Morgan’s legal team to understand the full scope of his injuries and how they will impact his life and, in this case, it seems like they are well proceeding with caution.”
McNair’s children will receive ever-increasing payments starting at $3,000 per month for the rest of the lives, guaranteeing them some financial security. The amount was disclosed in recently released court documents filed in Surrogate’s Court in New York’s Westchester County, where McNair lived, according to AP news.
Morgan, who starred in “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” suffered broken bones and what his lawyer termed as a traumatic brain injury. In November, Morgan’s lawyer stated that the comedian might never be the same person he was before the accident.
“If anything good can come from this horrific truck accident, I hope that Walmart and similar corporations will take a closer look at the demands they place on their drivers,” continued Burger. “Tractor-trailers are inherently dangerous given their size compared to passenger vehicles. Transportation companies can and should do more to keep our roadways safe. They should well train divers to ensure they drive safe and don’t harm innocent people.”
Injuries like the ones Morgan has sustained can last a lifetime and often involve lengthy battles in and out of court. Each year, truck accidents kill approximately 4,000 people each year, along with injuring thousands more; victims and their families need to act quickly to find the right personal injury lawyers for their case.
As Walmart acknowledged in court, the truck driver, Kevin Roper, had not slept in more than 24 hours and was completing a 700 mile commute at the time of the accident. The driver had also been traveling at 65 mph in a 55 mph zone, which had been reduced to 45 mph for roadwork.
Roper had been working 13-and-a-half hours at the time of the crash, although it was unclear at the time of the investigation whether he had been driving for all of it. Federal regulations allow truck drivers to work 14 hour shifts, but they can only drive for 11 of those hours.
Roper is currently facing charges of death by auto, along with several others related to assault and could see up to 30 years in prison.
“No amount of money will ever replace their father. All we can do in these situations is secure a recovery that will ensure that the surviving family members are well looked after. The McNairs will never have their father back, but they will have a certain sense of financial security for the rest of their lives,” said Burger.
Morgan and other passengers in the vehicle have also sued Walmart, who admitted wrongdoing in the accident.