Car Accident Lawyer

Defending Your Rights as an Alleged At-Fault Driver

Automobile accidents have the power to change lives in an instant. Such is the case of the tragic June 7, 2014 collision on the New Jersey Turnpike involving comedian Tracy Morgan. Traveling toward New York on a limo bus, Morgan, comedian Ardley Fuqua and Morgan's assistant Jeffrey Millea, all received serious injuries when a tractor trailer collided with their vehicle. Fellow comedian Jimmy Mack was killed in the accident.

The Negligent Driver

Much of the media spotlight surrounding this event focused on the driver, Kevin Roper. Roper lives in Jonesboro, Georgia, but is employed by a Wal-Mart distribution center in Smyrna, Delaware. To get to his job as a truck driver, Roper commutes 700 miles. Investigation reveals that on the night of the crash Roper had not slept for more than 24 hours. Moreover, he was likely asleep at the wheel at the moment of impact. If these allegations are true, it seems clear that Roper was negligent.

Employer Negligence

Morgan and others involved in the accident have filed a lawsuit in New Jersey alleging that Wal-Mart was negligent as well. Among the charges levied in the complaint are statements saying that the retail giant knew or should have known that their employee was in no condition to drive after a 700 mile commute and without any sleep. Moreover, several similar Wal-Mart facilities exist in Roper's home state, yet he was employed at a distribution center far from home. The suit argues that Wal-Mart is also negligent for failing to provide Roper with employment that did not require this commute.

Why Some People Sue

Victims of the crash suffered extensive injuries. They may require months or years of rehabilitation. In the meantime, they are unable to go back to work. Under the circumstances, it isn't surprising that the plaintiffs are seeking compensation.

Of course, not every car accident is as severe as this one. Nonetheless, many people who are involved in collisions consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out whether or not a claim can be made. Most of these cases don't involve a nationwide retailer with deep pockets. In fact, a majority of such cases are brought by individuals against other individuals. When an at-fault driver is sued by another driver, the consequences can be emotionally and financially devastating.

These cases are generally not resolved quickly because of their complexity. Already Wal-Mart has responded to Morgan's complaint by saying that the limo passengers contributed to their injuries by failing to wear seatbelts. Clearly, personal injury lawsuits resulting from car accidents are not always straightforward. Even when it appears that one individual is responsible, other involved parties may have contributed to the damages.

How Can an At-Fault Driver Protect Themselves?

While the moments following a collision are chaotic, it's important to remain calm. Above all, it's essential to remain at the scene and to provide the other parties with all necessary information. Drivers should never admit fault or liability. Anything said regarding fault can be used later by other parties and their attorneys. It's also essential to promptly inform insurance companies of the accident so they can begin processing the claim. A driver who fears they may be at fault might want to consult with an attorney to begin protecting themselves and their assets.

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