Indiana personal injury lawyer discusses how Wal-Mart treats personal injury victims?
I can guarantee that if you or I were injured in a Wal-Mart store or if we were run over by a Wal-Mart tractor trailer we would not make it unto the national news like Tracy Morgan's crash in New Jersey a few months ago. Because Tracy Morgan is famous the facts of the accident were all over the news. WE learned that there was evidence that:
- The Wal-Mart truck driver was fatigued
- The Wal-Mart truck driver was awake for over 24 hours before the crash
- That before beginning his shift, the Wal-Mart driver had commuted about 700 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware
- There may be some evidence that the Wal-Mart truck driver was speeding at the time of the crash
Shortly after the crash, Wal-Mart issued a statement where its representative said:
- This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. We are working quickly to understand what happened and are cooperating fully with law enforcement to aid their investigation.
- The facts are continuing to unfold. If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Wal-Mart will take full responsibility. Safety is our absolute highest priority, but that is no comfort whatsoever to the families and friends who are suffering today.
- We offer them our deepest condolences. We can't change what happened, but we will do what's right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead.
Well, Tracy Morgan filed suit against Wal-Mart in a New Jersey federal Court. As a reminder, a lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. Wal-Mart recently filed its answer to the complaint. An answer is a response stating whether it admits or denies the allegations in the complaint.
Wal-Mart also plead a number of affirmative defenses in its answer. An affirmative defense says this, even if the allegations in the complaint are true, we are still not responsible. Even in such a highly publicized case, Wal-Mart, did what all personal injury defendants do, and that is give a laundry list of affirmative defenses. In this case, Wal-Mart pled 9 affirmative defenses.
Let's look at few of these:
FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Upon information and belief, plaintiffs' Complaint fails to state a direct and/or vicarious cause of action against Wal-Mart on which relief may be granted. Wal-Mart is saying that it is not responsible for the actions of the driver that was driving a Wal-Mart truck carrying Wal-Mart merchandise.
SECOND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Upon information and belief, plaintiffs' Complaint fails to set forth any facts which are sufficient to support a direct and/or vicarious claim of negligence as to Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart is saying that Morgan is not entitled to bring a claim because the facts do not support a claim. Come On. Really! To bring a car or truck accident claim, the injured person has to show that the other driver was on the road so they had a duty to drive safely, that they did something wrong (like speeding), and that because of the wrong, injured occurred.
THIRD AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Upon information and belief, plaintiffs' right to recover damages may either be barred or diminished by plaintiffs' separate and/or collective actions under the doctrine of comparative negligence.
What Wal-Mart is saying is that the injuries or the accident was somehow caused by Morgan.
EIGHTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE
Upon information and belief, plaintiffs' injuries, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs' failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt restraint device. By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seat belts, upon information and belief, plaintiffs acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs' own best interests. Accordingly, all or a portion of the injuries could have been diminished or minimized by the exercise of reasonable conduct in using the available seat belts.
This is called the seat-belt defense. Wal-Mart is claiming that Morgan's injuries were caused because he was not wearing a seat belt. The investigation is not yet complete so we do not know if the occupants in the vehicle were wearing their seat belts.
All the facts of this accident disclosed thus far, suggest that Wal-Mart is clearly responsible for the accident, the injuries to Morgan and death of one passenger in the vehicle. In its initial statement Wal-Mart said “it would take full responsibility” if its truck driver was at fault. This has not happened to date.
We can all learn a lesson from the Morgan case. Even if your famous and no o matter how the facts shake up against large corporations like Wal-Mart, they will refuse to accept responsibility and will not pay just compensation until they are forced to do so in a court of law. This is why personal injury lawyers are needed. To help individuals get just compensation when they are injured by the negligence of large corporations.