When an accident occurs at the fault of a truck driver who works for a larger company, often the legal fallout places the blame not only at the feet of the individual driver, but at the company who hired him. In these cases, an employer can be labeled as negligent for hiring the individual, especially if the driver has a history of poor driving or traffic violations, or responsible for the driver’s actions as a representative of the company, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale say.
In a recent case, comedian Tracy Morgan has done just this—leveled accusations of negligence on corporate giant Walmart, after a company driver smashed a tractor trailer into the celebrity’s limousine, leaving Morgan and three other passengers with serious injuries, and another passenger dead. The accident, which made the national news, occurred in New Jersey, and the lawsuit was filed shortly thereafter in the U.S. District Court in the state. Morgan and the three survivors of the accident allege that Walmart was negligent, and should be held responsible for the driver’s behavior.
According to the lawsuit filed, the 35-year-old Georgia man behind the wheel of the tractor trailer had been driving for more than 24 hours straight when he rear-ended the limousine. This is in direct violation of the federal trucking regulations, which exist to prevent accidents just like this one. These regulations are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and limit the number of consecutive hours that a trucker can be on the road. The most recent laws include an 11-hour daily driving limit, and a 14-hour work day.
Because Walmart is responsible for ensuring that their employees comply with all federal regulations, a personal injury lawyer can reasonably defend an argument that the company should be aware of the driving times of all their employees, and should be enforcing the federal regulations. In this case, Morgan and the other plaintiffs claimed that Walmart should have known about the man’s driving hours—or did know and chose not to take action—that contributed to his exhaustion and lack of attention before the crash.
In a high profile traffic accident with fatalities, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration conducts an investigation to determine what happened, and who is responsible for the crash. According to the NHTSA report on this incident, the truck driver was traveling about 20 miles over the posted speed limit on the New Jersey turnpike. In addition to the charges leveled in the personal injury suit, the driver will also be facing charges of four counts of assault by auto and one count of death by auto. If he is found guilty for any or all of these charges, personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale say that these charges can be used against him in the pending lawsuit.
At the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, our personal injury attorneys represent clients living in Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding counties who have been injured in car accidents both in Florida and across the country. If you or your loved ones have been hurt through someone else’s negligence, contact David Fuchs for a free, no-strings consultation about your legal options.