Some people scoff at the idea that victims of car accidents deserve to be compensated for the emotional trauma they have experienced. However, they may change their minds after watching a recent, compelling interview of comedian Tracy Morgan – a year after he was involved in a tragic crash.
“The pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mac,” the comedian recently told the Today show. “Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal.”
Morgan, star of “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” sat with Today’s Matt Lauer for his first public discussion of the June 2014 crash in which his limousine bus was hit by a Wal-Mart truck driver exceeding the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike. Comedian James McNair died in the crash. Morgan and two others in the limo were severely injured.
Morgan suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI), a broken leg and several broken ribs. He did not learn of McNair’s death until emerging from a coma two weeks after the crash.
Comedian’s Mental Anguish Comes Through in Interview
In the Today show interview, Morgan carried a cane. He spoke clearly but was often overcome by emotion. He said he did not feel the full impact of the crash until he left the hospital and started watching YouTube videos of the accident and of McNair’s funeral.
“I had to know what happened to my friend. I had to know. I had to pay my respects, and that was my way,” Morgan said.
“He was a close friend of mine, a comrade in comedy. He was a loving man, and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It’s just hard for me to see that he’s gone.”
Seeking Compensation for Mental Anguish in Florida
In Florida, a person injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence may seek compensation for “mental anguish,” which may be described as significant grief, shock, anxiety, fright, shock, shame, embarrassment or some other psychological harm.
A plaintiff who is seeking compensation for mental anguish would have to demonstrate that someone else’s negligence caused the anguish, and that the mental anguish flowed from his or her physical injuries.
Further, the person would be required to show that his or her mental anguish caused an adverse physical manifestation such as depression or weight loss.
Mental anguish is a part of broader “pain and suffering” damages. These damages are available in addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost income and other economic damages.
In a car accident in Florida, non-economic damages are available for “pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease.”
However, to be eligible for these damages after a car accident, a plaintiff would need to show:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
Morgan, who settled his personal injury lawsuit with Wal-Mart, said in his interview that “Wal-Mart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families.” The terms of the settlement are confidential.
One would be hard-pressed to see the Today show video of Morgan and not come away wholly convinced of his pain and suffering.
Your pain and suffering after an auto accident may be just as real. You should contact an attorney to learn more about your right to obtain just compensation for the harm you have suffered.
To discuss the economic or non-economic consequences of a car accident that has left you or a loved one injured, contact Orlando auto accident lawyer, Frank M. Eidson, P.A. We can provide a free consultation about your case.