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No punch line here: Morgan sues fatigued truck driver's employer


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jul 15, 2014 in Truck Accidents

About a month ago, we covered a high-profile motor vehicle accident. As we discussed in this blog post, actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured when a semi truck collided with the limo-bus he was riding in. Unfortunately, the crash killed a fellow comedian and injured another two passengers.

Morgan's recovery has been grueling and will continue into the foreseeable future. He is currently going through an "aggressive outpatient" therapy program even a month after the crash.

Recovery isn't the only thing in Morgan's sights at this time, however. The actor has filed suit against the trucker's employer, Wal-Mart.

According to a report from Claims Journal, the injury lawsuit against Wal-Mart includes multiple components. First off, the suit indicates that the trucker's employer was negligent for allowing an unreasonable commute distance. The truck driver lived about 700 miles from where his employer was based. As a result, the trucker faced an exhausting drive just to arrive at work.

The most notable aspect of this case is fatigued driving, which is a problem across the trucking industry. Reports say that the driver was awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the truck accident. At the same time, the driver had been on the job for slightly less than 14 hours. Daily work limits, according to federal regulation, are 14 hours for shifts with no more than 11 hours behind the wheel. Keeping this in mind, it will be important to determining if the driver was behind the wheel for more than 11 hours during his shift.

This claim demonstrates one of the key components of truck and commercial vehicle accidents: Not only can individual drivers be held accountable, but trucking companies can be considered liable as well. Vicarious liability for employers is something that should be considered in every truck accident case.

Source: Claims Journal, "Morgan Sues Wal-Mart a Month After Crash," Bruce Shipkowski, July 14, 2014