Tracy Morgan made his first television appearance Monday, just a few days after reaching a settlement with Walmart over the horrific auto collision last June that put him within an inch of his life. It’s been nearly a year since a Walmart tractor-trailer rear-ended Morgan’s vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike, but the actor and comedian still has a long way to go to full recovery.
Morgan’s vehicle was flipped on its head during the crash, causing serious injuries to two other passengers and killing Morgan’s good friend, comedy writer James McNair. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Walmart truck was traveling at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and the driver had not slept in over 24 hours at the time of the collision.
Morgan’s legal battle with Walmart was not entirely amicable—Walmart came under fire a few months after the collision for claiming Morgan was not wearing a seatbelt. “I can’t believe Wal-Mart is blaming me for an accident that they caused,” Morgan said in a statement last September.
However, in the end Morgan felt that Walmart did the right thing. “Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families,” he said in response to the settlement reached last Wednesday.
Morgan’s settlement will go towards the medical bills he’s accrued since the crash, his lost earnings, and compensation for his pain and suffering, as well as future medical bills in the event that the head trauma he suffered will cause permanent brain damage.
While it is great news that Walmart did the right thing in these circumstances, and has opted to settle with Morgan and the other victims in a timely manner, this is not always the case. For accident victims that are not celebrities like Tracy Morgan but rather working class individuals, the legal process can be a far longer and more arduous journey. In these lower profile cases, the defendants are not put in the same spotlight that Walmart was in this lawsuit, and there is less public pressure for them to do the right thing.
We’re very happy that Morgan and his colleagues will be taken care of in the wake of this tragedy, and we hope that Walmart’s actions will set an example for companies in similar situations to step up, even when no one is watching.
Sources: Lobosco, Katie, “Tracy Morgan settles with Walmart over car crash” CNN, 28 May 2015.
Moyer, Justin Wm. “Tracy Morgan, Wal-Mart settle after crash,” The Washington Post, 28 May 2015.