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Wal-Mart denies liability, says lack of seatbelts led to injuries

Wal-Mart recently filed an answer to the complaint filed by Tracy Morgan and several other people hurt in the June accident with a truck owned by the retail giant. It claimed that Morgan and his entourage were not wearing their seatbelts, and that this lapse of judgment essentially led to their injuries. In its pleadings, Wal-Mart claimed that if the injured parties were wearing proper safety restraints, their injuries could have been “diminished or minimized.”

It appears that Wal-Mart intends to defend itself by employing a textbook case of comparative negligence. Essentially, this means that the injured parties’ negligence played a major part in the injuries they suffered. And because of such negligence, their recovery (if any) should be reduced. It also appears that if the matter goes to trial, Wal-Mart wants to convince the jury that the injured parties’ negligence outweighed the alleged negligence of the truck driver who crashed into the limousine.

At this point, it is speculative to think about what might have been if everyone on the limousine bus were wearing seatbelts.

Nevertheless, Tracy Morgan, who suffered multiple fractures and was in the hospital for weeks, continues to progress in a slow recovery, his attorney reports. It remains to be seen whether the matter will actually go to trial; especially given Wal-Mart’s position. A spokesperson for Wal-Mart explained that the company is willing to negotiate to settle the matter, but that might just be a public relations position that is not particularly related to its legal position. 

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