The accident involving a Wal-Mart semi-truck that claimed the life of James McNair and injured several others, including Tracy Morgan, is now spawning legal action. The actor is suing Wal-Mart for negligence and its alleged failure to appropriately control driver Kevin Roper’s time on the road. Other plaintiffs are joining the Tracy Morgan lawsuit to seek damages. The Tracy Morgan lawsuit claims that Wal-Mart did know, or should have known, about Roper’s lack of sleep.
Roper is believed to have been awake for a full 24 hours prior to the crash. The events of the crash suggest he was slow to react to traffic events unfolding in front of him. Roper has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. He has pled not guilty to the charges.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation revealed that the semi was also traveling 20 MPH over the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike where the accident occurred. Other plaintiffs in the Tracy Morgan lawsuit include Morgan’s assistant, Morgan’s wife, and a fellow comedian. Morgan’s wife, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, is also seeking damages for loss of consortium.
E-Logging On The Horizon
The high profile nature of this crash and the Tracy Morgan lawsuit are likely to be fuel for proponents of electronic onboard recorders (EOBR) by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to propose a rule on EOBRs this November. The idea behind EOBRs, otherwise known as e-logging devices, is to significantly reduce the number of drivers that operate while fatigued and impede companies that engage in tactics that force drivers to overwork. The FMSCA states that the rules need to:
– Set the standards for the EOBRs themselves.
– Require all drivers to use them.
– Require service documents indicating hours.
– Safeguards to ensure EOBRs cannot be used by fleet or enforcement officials against drivers.
The Department of Transportation is also working to institute a database pertaining to drug and alcohol abuse by those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The database would include refused and failed drug and alcohol tests that could be accessed with written permission from a driver. The database is supposed to be in place by October of 2015 as stipulated by the Map-21 highway funding law.
EOBRs may even feature a kill switch for the semi truck. Had one been in Roper’s truck, there would be no question that Wal-Mart should have known that he was awake for 24 hours before the accident. It is less likely Roper would have slipped under the radar if his hours of operation had just been an oversight. Even still, the what ifs are not that imperative in the Tracy Morgan lawsuit.
Seeking Legal Counsel from Attorney Group
The Tracy Morgan lawsuit casts a spotlight on the importance of legal assistance if you or a loved one have been involved in an accident. Semi truck accidents are often more catastrophic than other types of accidents because of the massive amount of weight involved with a loaded tractor-trailer. Even low speed accidents can be fatal. A semi accident can mean long recovery times and tremendous medical expenses in addition to the victim’s pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a semi truck accident, or if you wish to learn more about the Tracy Morgan lawsuit and its implications, contact Attorney Group today. You can receive a free, no-obligation consultation to determine whether you have a claim. If you do, you can be connected with an affiliated attorney who can work to get you the compensation to which you may be entitled.