Tracy Morgan, the actor and comedian famous for his roles in 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, was seriously injured last month in a crash with a Wal-Mart semi-truck. The driver of the truck is alleged to have been without sleep for over 24 hours before the crash, and questions remain as to whether he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Morgan, who was hospitalized in critical condition after the truck crash, has recently filed a lawsuit over Wal-Mart in connection with the accident. Although the crash took place out of state, the legal issues involved are pertinent to victims of traffic accidents right here in Ohio — particularly in accidents involving semis and other commercial vehicles.
When a semi driver causes an accident due to drowsy driving or any other type of negligence, the trucking company he or she is employed by may be financially liable to anyone who is injured. This is because employers are generally held responsible for the negligent acts of their employees when they occur in the line of work.
In this case, Morgan has alleged that the company should have known that the driver was not well rested and thus unable to drive safely. Morgan further claimed in the lawsuit that the driver commuted 700 miles from his home in Georgia to reach his place of work in Delaware, and that the company should have known that this was unreasonable.
If Morgan prevails in his lawsuit, he may recover compensatory damages for his injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and other harm. He may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are awarded in certain cases to punish a party that has acted with a high degree of negligence, and to discourage similar behavior in the future.
Source: Claims Journal, “Morgan Sues Wal-Mart a Month After Crash,” Bruce Shipkowski, AP, July 14, 2014