Walmart has reached a settlement agreement to conclude litigation that dates back to a trucking accident on the New Jersey Turnpike in June of 2014, agreeing to compensate plaintiffs including comedian Tracy Morgan for their losses and injuries sustained in the accident. Another comedian, James McNair, was killed as a result of the accident. Although Walmart allegedly attempted to place blame for the accident on Morgan, whose limo was involved in the crash, at the outset of the lawsuit, Walmart has now stepped up to accept liability. The settlement agreement reached will apparently provide compensation to family members of McNair for the loss of his life in the accident, as well as to Tracy Morgan for the injuries he sustained.
NJ Truck Driver Sleep Requirements
Reports of the accident indicated that the driver of the Walmart truck had not slept in over 24 hours, and was also exceeding posted speed limits by more than 20 miles per hour at the time of the incident. Many state and federal laws regulating Commercial Motor Vehicles have been put in place in order to help avoid tragic accidents like this. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations set specific restrictions on how many hours a commercial driver can legally spend on the road (49 CFR 395), and also set standards for how much rest a commercial driver must get in between his time behind the wheel (49 CFR 40). Additionally, 49 CFR 380 requires that employers must ensure that all of their commercial drivers are well trained, and 49 CFR 383 implements the requirement that Commercial Drivers’ Licenses must be obtained by passing appropriate state tests. Federal law also mandates certain safety procedures under 49 CFR 385. However, even with all of these standards in place to protect the safety of members of the public on our highways, accidents still happen, and when they do, it is important to retain an experienced attorney who can help you negotiate the best possible settlement to compensate for your injuries or losses, or pursue appropriate damages in Court if a settlement cannot be reached.