In 2014, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a catastrophic automobile accident in New Jersey. The accident occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike, when a large Walmart truck struck the limousine that Morgan was traveling in. The group was on their way back from a performance when trucker Kevin Roper, who was reportedly fatigued at the time of the accident, crashed into the back of the limousine. The crash created a tragic and deadly six-car accident.
As a result of the truck accident, Morgan sustained a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs, and a broken leg. The other passengers in the limousine also sustained serious injuries, and his friend James McNair died as a result of the accident.
The driver of the Walmart truck eventually pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide following the crash. The guilty plea enabled him to avoid prison time, according to published reports that discuss the plea agreement. Instead of serving time, the plea agreement indicates that Roper would be required to complete 300 hours of community service, which would give him the opportunity to avoid a trial altogether, and all criminal charges would be dismissed.
Although the driver did not have to face jail time as a result of the accident, Walmart was still deemed liable for the accident from a personal injury standpoint, as it was eventually determined that the truck driver hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours when the accident happened.
The terms of Morgan’s truck accident lawsuit settlement remained confidential, but McNair’s children were reportedly awarded $10 million in a 2015 settlement. Subsequent court documents revealed that more than 90 percent of Walmart’s total payout was for Morgan’s claims, as well as another passenger’s claims. Because of this, it has been speculated that Morgan and the other passenger may have settled their cases for more than $90 million.
As far as Morgan’s health goes, he has returned to work since the horrific accident. While he has appeared to recover from most of his apparent injuries, the actor also says that he has his “good days and bad days.” Morgan has also gone on to state that even years after the accident, he was still getting occasional headaches and has also become forgetful at times. Traumatic brain injuries have been known to sometimes cause long-term memory loss.
When someone is awarded an amount of money of this magnitude following a truck accident lawsuit or personal injury case, it is unlikely that it is in the form of a lump sum. Instead, large monetary awards are typically awarded in the form of structured settlements, which means that plaintiffs receive long-term payments over a fixed time period until the full settlement award has been paid out. For some plaintiffs, this setup isn’t optimal, and they would prefer to receive more (or all) of their money upfront. Initially, your structured settlement may have been the best option, but perhaps now you need to receive more of your money in a larger lump sum payment. If you were awarded a structured settlement following a car accident and you’d like to explore your options for receiving a lump sum payment, contact us today.