Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rant #1,301: Crash Course

I am sure we have all heard that comic Tracy Morgan has fired back at Walmart for all that it had to say about the tragic crash that the comedian and his entourage were in several months ago.

Morgan's tour bus was hit by a Walmart truck driven by a driver who might have been sleep deprived, not having slept for more than 24 hours.

The comic's vehicle was destroyed, one person on the bus lost his life, and Morgan was pretty badly hurt, still not 100 percent OK even months after the accident.

Morgan sued Walmart, saying that the retail giant was responsible for the loss of his vehicle, the loss of life, and the pain this has caused him.

Walmart fired back, saying the comic, himself, was negligent, and was at least partly the cause of everything he was suing the retailer about.

Morgan fired back, saying that he "can't believe" that Walmart is blaming him for this crash at all. He has also said that due to his injuries and mental anguish, he may not ever be able to perform again.

So you have the retail giant on one side of the aisle, the comic on the other.

It might make for a great comedy sketch.

The problem is, this isn't a very funny case.

And sorry Walmart, this one you aren't going to win.

How Morgan was negligent in this accident is beyond my comprehension, but I have a "been there, done that" perspective on how things work in major crashes like this.

When I had my major car accident back in May, the other person, a young kid who went directly through a Stop sign without stopping and hit my car with such fury, was obviously, without doubt, 100 percent liable for this accident, and his insurance company knows this too.

However, in the only part of my story that has not yet been resolved, the other insurance company is claiming that I was partly at fault for the accident.

The case is still open, and I hope to hear something before the end of the year.

An arbitrator is hearing the case, and his decision will be final.

If I am even found 1 percent liable, my insurance rates will go up, so it is imperative that I win this case.

I heard from an insurance adjuster that what they are trying to prove is that even though I was the one who got hit, I was also liable, grabbing at the scintilla of the possibility that since my car was there at the point of contact, I was, in fact, partly at fault for the accident.

Was I speeding on this street? No.

It was starting to rain. Did I have my windshield wipers on? Yes.

Did I have my lights on? Yes.

Was I behaving properly on the road, due to the conditions? Yes.

But I was there at the point of contact, so the other company is basically saying is that if I wasn't there at that exact moment in time, there would be no accident.

Get it?

The same thing can be applied to the Morgan case, although in this case, he is personally suing Walmart.

Again, going on a scintilla of a possibility, they are claiming that Morgan was at fault, so their own rates don't go up as high as if they were found 100 percent at fault, and also to distance themselves from their own driver, who I am sure has been hit by his own insurance company, or the company that Walmart uses to insure its fleet of truck drivers.

But Walmart is going to lose this case, simply because it is going to be very hard to prove that Morgan, a passenger in his vehicle, had any impact whatsoever on this accident.

Walmart is trying to save face, and all that they are doing, really, is throwing a pie in their own face, and it is making them look really stupid.

But that is the society we live in, blaming others for your own ineptitude.

In this case, the driver was probably tired, he hit Morgan's vehicle, and what happened happened.

Too bad that Walmart doesn't see it that way, and that anyone even believes their incredibly stupid argument.

Whether it is my case or his, negligence is certainly there, but again, in both cases, it is the driver who caused the accident who is at fault ...

And at fault 100 percent.


  1. Oh, no, not you, too!

    But then again, I cannot really blame you. You just fell victim to media hype. Sensational journalism. Reporters who are either ignorant of the law or who won't let a little thing like journalistic integrity get in the way of a good story.

    The world is not as black and white as you portray it. New Jersey is a comparative negligence state, meaning each party's fault is taken into consideration.

    The Morgan case is in the pleadings stage. The lawyer for Morgan and the other passengers filed a complaint, which is a document setting forth the allegations against Walmart and the driver.

    Walmart filed an answer to the complaint. The answer responds to the allegations and asserts any defenses Walmart may have if the matter ever goes to trial. If you don't raise a defense in the pleadings, you waive it.

    Remember, pleadings are just the beginning of the suit. After the pleadings are filed, the discovery process begins. Not hats when you investigate the facts via exchange of documents, deposition testimony, etc. that's when you build your cae for settlement or trial.

    The reason I am rolling my eyes at the media hype over Walmart's answer? Every single answer filed in an auto case sets forth a seatbelt defense. Every. Single. Case.

    In fact, the lawyers would have been guilty of malpractice if they didn't include the seatbelt defense.

    If you had sued over your car accident, where they literally had to cut you out if your seatbelt, you would have seen a seatbelt defense raised in the pleadings.

    Every lawyer and insurance claims professional is rolling their eyes at this media hype.

    Walmart doesn't think it can "win" this case. It was their truck, their driver, and let's face it, when your driver is criminally charged for his conduct in causing the accident, there is going to be a finding of liability against the employer.

    The seatbelt defense is really aimed at reducing the amount of damages paid to a plaintiff. The purpose of a seatbelt is to prevent or minimize injuries suffered in an accident. If you didn't wear your seatbelt, and were more seriously injured as a result, why should you be compensated for preventable injuries?

    This case is never going to trial. The parties will sit down in a few months and work out a settlement. End of hype.

  2. I guess the information was watered down because the public generally doesn't know how these cases proceed. I fell victim to it because I am part of the general public. I thank you for your explanation, but I still want to see what happens with this case. If it does not proceed as you said, it could be very interesting.



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