The family of James McNair, a comedian who got killed in an accident that left Tracy Morgan seriously injured has now been settled by Wal-Mart for wrongful death. The claim was settled out of court between James McNair’s estate and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Each party was represented by a car accident attorney of their choice.
The crash which occurred on the night of June 7 involved a Wal-Mart truck slamming into a limo van that was carrying Tracy Morgan alongside his friends. Morgan’s attorney said the former ’30 Rock’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ star suffered brain injury. McNair was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, having grown together in Brooklyn.
While the terms of the settlement remain confidential, the family of McNair have confirmed that they are happy with the outcome. Their car accident attorney observed that Wal-Mart did a good thing to accept responsibility and take care of the family following the extensive damage caused. Wal-Mat has indicated it’s also working on plans to equally settle others who sustained injuries from the accident.
During an interview with AP, McNair’s children described their dad as a humble man who cared less about celebrity trappings despite having attained fame. Instead he concentrated his energies on helping others, especially young comedians and needy families. The children opted to stay out of the spotlight during the settlement period, choosing to keep off the media attention that was building up around the case.
Morgan has already had a clash with Wal-Mart after the company seemed to suggest that he was actually to blame for his injury. The company claimed in October that the injuries to Morgan were caused in part or whole by the failure on his part to properly wear the available seat belt (restraint device). Morgan responded and placed the blame on the company, saying he could not believe that Wal-Mart was blaming him for an accident they caused. In an email written to USA TODAY, the star said his friends and himself did nothing wrong that could be linked to causing the accident. He thanked his fans for having stuck with him during this difficult period, affirming that he loves them and that he is fighting daily to get back.
Meanwhile criminal charges against Kevin Roper, the Wal-Mart truck driver, are pending in court. The truck driver has reportedly pleaded not guilty to the death by auto as well as assault by auto charges pressed against him. The criminal complaint statement says that he was driving without having had any sleep for over 24 hours. The National Transportation Safety Board conducted preliminary investigation and revealed that the driver was going at 65 mph during the last 60 seconds leading to the crash. The limit on that stretch is normally 55 mph but was reduced to 45 mph on that night due to construction works.
Morgan’s car accident attorney chose not to respond immediately to media requests seeking his comment. It’s only last month when he said that Morgan was yet to recover fully from his brain injuries and observed that it was hard to tell if Morgan would ever get back to the Tracy Morgan we once knew.