Tracy Morgan fighting ‘to return to the person he was’ after crash

Posted at 4:35 PM, Nov 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-19 16:35:01-05

(CNN) — Five months after being injured in a deadly limo bus crash, Tracy Morgan is fighting to return to the person he once was, his lawyer said Tuesday.

And it seems the “30 Rock” star’s injuries weren’t just the broken ribs, broken nose and broken leg that were previously reported. According to attorney Benedict Morelli, the 46-year-old comedic actor also suffered a “severe brain injury.”

“Mr. Morgan is a fighter,” Morelli said, according to “He’s fighting to get better. And if there’s a chance for him to be back to the Tracy Morgan he once was, he’s going to try to do that. But we just don’t know because of the severity of the injuries that he sustained and the fact that he had such a severe brain injury.”

On June 7, Morgan was a passenger on a limo bus that was rear-ended by a Walmart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. The crash killed Morgan’s friend and fellow comedian James McNair, and left Morgan and his other companions with injuries.

As previously reported, a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board showed that the Walmart truck was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit, and that its driver was almost at his drive-time limit.

In July, Morgan and three others filed suit against Walmart, stating in a complaint that “the defendants’ negligence was a substantial contributing factor in causing plaintiffs’ injuries.”

The retailer responded in September by placing part of the blame on Morgan and the other passengers, saying that the injuries sustained were “caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device.”

The driver who was operating the Walmart truck, Kevin Roper, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that include vehicular homicide and assault by automobile.

On Tuesday, as representatives for both sides in the lawsuit arrived in court for a scheduling conference, Morelli said that “the jury is still out” on whether Morgan will be able to fully recover.

“When you have a traumatic brain injury, it takes a very long time to find out how you’re going to do and how much you’re going to recover,” Morelli said. “So that’s where he is. He’s still fighting and trying to live his life at the same time and trying to get better, and he’s just not better. We’re hoping and praying to get him back to where he was.”

Morgan, who spent weeks in the hospital and rehabilitation following the crash, showed gratitude to his fans in September for their continued support.

“I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time,” the “Saturday Night Live” veteran said. “I love you all. I’m fighting hard every day to get back.”