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Wal-Mart asserts Morgan's injuries his own fault

Wal-Mart filed a response in the lawsuit involving former-SNL comedian Tracy Morgan, who was seriously injured in a truck accident on the New Jersey Turnpike in June, when a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of his limousine. The crash killed Morgan's friend and fellow comedian James McNair, and injured other passengers in the limousine.

The truck accident occurred when the Wal-Mart truck failed to slow for traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, which had come to stop for road construction. The truck was reportedly traveling at 65 miles per hour when it hit Morgan's limo.

In their response, Wal-Mart claimed that the injuries were due to the passenger's failure to wear their seatbelts. This is not surprising, because at this point in a lawsuit, a defendant typically must raise all possible defenses to their actions, or they cannot discuss them later in a trial.

The problem for Wal-Mart is rear-end collisions are almost always considered the fault of the driver who strikes  the other vehicle, as it fundamentally goes to the responsibility of a driver to maintain a safe distance between vehicles and remain in control of their vehicle at all times.

If the evidence is as damaging as it appears to be in this case, with a truck driver who was allegedly awake 24 hours and was approaching the limits of his 14 hours work day and who was driving 20 mph over the speed limit at the time of the crash, it is like they will attempt to settle the case.

One potential impediment to a quick settlement might be the impact of Morgan's injuries on his ability to work. As an entertainer, his future earnings could be considerable, and Wal-Mart may resist paying the potential compensation he may demand.

The Huffington Post, "Walmart: Tracy Morgan Partly To Blame In Truck Accident Because He Wasn't Wearing Seatbelt," David Potter, Associated Press, September 29, 2014

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