Lawsuit filed in wake of trucking accident involving famous comedian

Woman Truck Driver Raising Trailer legsOn June 7, 2014, a limousine carrying famed comedian Tracy Morgan, his close friend and comedian James McNair and several others was rear-ended by a large tractor trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike. Business Week reports that the traumatic collision claimed the life of James McNair and sent a critically injured Morgan to the hospital. After recently being released from physical rehabilitation, Morgan has filed a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the truck accident, citing reckless conduct and negligence as a contributing factor to the accident. The truck driver has been charged with assault, reckless driving and vehicular homicide, for which he pleaded not guilty.

The pending lawsuit

The day before the accident occurred, the truck driver had driven 11 hours, more than 700 miles from his residence in Georgia, to pick up his truck in Delaware. After the driver retrieved his truck, he drove another 13 hours before he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel, resulting in the collision, injury and death. The lawsuit claims that the truck driver could have easily been sent to pick up a truck from one of the nine distribution facilities located in his home state, and that requiring him to drive such a long distance was completely unnecessary.

The lawsuit also states that the company should have been aware that scheduling this driver in such a manner was against regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The 30 to 40 ton tractor trailer that was involved in the accident had an automatic braking system; however, it was not working at the time the accident occurred. This detail is also included in the lawsuit.

Morgan, and the other people who were injured in the accident, are seeking compensation for injuries, medical expenses, inability to work, as well as pain and suffering they have experienced as a result of the collision.

Truck driving regulations

U.S. truck drivers are required to comply with the hours of service regulations set by the FMCSA. These rules were set as a way to combat truck drivers who were working long hours, driving while fatigued and contributing to a number of motor vehicle collisions. Since July 2013, truck drivers are restricted from driving more than 11 hours daily, and 70 hours a week. Drivers who work a full 70-hour week must take a 34 hour break before they resume driving. A 30-minute break must also be taken within the first eight hours of a driving shift.

Companies that employ a tractor trailer fleet are responsible for ensuring their trucks are working properly, and that their employees are following federal regulations in order to avoid a catastrophe such as the one that occurred in New Jersey.