Why Your Car Accident Would be Different than Tracy Morgans

Tracy Morgan is best known for his role as Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock. Tracy Jordan is a fun loving, dim-witted, unpredictable and self-centered prima donna B-List movie star. To put it frankly, he is absolutely hilarious. I love 30 Rock. I’ve gone on several embarrassingly long Netflix benders just to see what Tracy is going to do next. For me, he steals the show. If you still don’t know who Tracy Morgan or Tracy Jordan is, watch the video below.

Tracy Morgan Gets in a Horrendous Tractor Trailer Accident

On June 7, 2014, Tracy Morgan and six others were traveling in a limousine in New Jersey. A tractor-trailer, driven by a Walmart employee smashed into the back of the limousine killing one of the passengers and severely injuring Tracy Morgan.

Morgan’s publicist, Lewis Kay, issued the following statement:

“While Tracy remains in critical condition, he has been more responsive today, which is an incredibly encouraging sign. He sustained a number of injuries including a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. He had surgery earlier today on his leg. We expect him to remain in the hospital for several weeks. His family is tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans. We will continue to update his status when new information becomes available.”

Tracy also sustained a traumatic brain injury from the impact of the collision. His attorney has said publicly that “he’s righting to get better, and if there’s a change for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that. But we just don’t know because of the severity of the injuries that he sustained and the fact that he had such a sever brain injury.”

Walmart Admits Liability only After Blaming Tracy Morgan and the Other Passengers!

Walmart originally blamed Tracy and his friends for not wearing a seatbelt in the limousine for the injuries they sustained. Remember, this is after an accident where one of their employees caused not only one passenger to die, but also caused a traumatic brain injury to Tracy Morgan. In their answer, Walmart suggested:

“Upon information and belief, plaintiffs’ injuries, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device,” Wal-Mart’s court papers said.

Morgan failed to “exercise ordinary care in making use of available seat belts . . . and acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs’ own best interests…”

This is par for the course for Walmart. In my world, as a lawyer, it is well known that Walmart loves to deny responsibility. However, Tracy Morgan had the backing of his fans. Fans were outraged by Walmart’s decision to fail to take responsibility:

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Unlike Tracy Morgan, my clients don’t have 3 million twitter followers and have never been nominated for an Emmy. Without the backlash from the media and Tracy’s fans, my guess would be that Walmart would have dug in their heals and blamed him for not wearing a seatbelt instead of accepting responsibility.

Walmart Settles with Tracy Morgan

A confidential settlement was reached with Tracy less than a year after the crash, a little over 6 months after Walmart decided to blame tracy and the passengers for not wearing their seatbelt. Walmart’s US Chief Executive Greg Foran said in a statement:

“While we know there is nothing that can change what happened, Walmart has been committed to doing what’s right to help ensure the well-being of all of those who were impacted by the accident.”

That is a nice PR statement. My clients who are everyday-people and not movie stars deserve the same respect that Tracy Morgan received finally received from Walmart. While they might not have as many twitter followers, Emmys or public fans, they are hardworking individuals who are just as effected as Tracy was when his life change on June 7, 2014.

If I just had Three Wishes

I wish… that this settlement wasn’t confidential. I wish that Walmart would have had to publicize the amount of money they had to pay Tracy in order to not see a jury. However, I understand why Tracy and his family would want to settle out of the limelight. He needs to focus on getting better and not on the prolonged legal battle.

I wish… Walmart would have accepted responsibility from the beginning. I have seen it first-hand. It is hard on the families and on the person injured when a big corporation points the figure back on the injured person.

I wish my clients would get the acknowledgement from Walmart or any other negligent corporation for their wrongdoing as opposed to outright denial. Every person who is injured should receive this treatment regardless of fame, status or occupation.

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