A co-driver can hold accident liability for a trucking accident. It would need to be proven that the co-driver was negligent in some manner. Often liability lies with both drivers, but there may be unique circumstances in which only the co-driver is responsible.
Circumstances in Which the Co-Driver of a Truck Can Be Liable for an Accident
Although the individual who is behind the wheel bears a great deal of responsibility for his/her actions, co-drivers share responsibility in ensuring the safe operation of a big rig. One circumstance in which this would be evident is if the co-driver is aware of dangerous conditions that would necessitate intervention.
For instance, there are obvious signs of driver fatigue. The trucker might be having trouble keeping his/her eyes open, or the truck may swerve. If the driver is clearly intoxicated, sick or otherwise struggling to safely operate the truck, the co-driver should step in.
There also may be circumstances in which both drivers are impaired or otherwise distracted, such as using their cellphones. These types of negligent actions could result in both parties being responsible for an accident.
Sometimes the co-driver may have distracted to the lead driver; this could include horseplay, playing loud music or attempting to steer from the passenger seat. Acts of carelessness or recklessness could lead to liability for an injury-causing accident.
After an accident, there may be evidence in the hours of service log that shows a discrepancy or missing information. For instance, the name of a co-driver is to be included, along with any time that individual spent behind the wheel. It could be that even though the co-driver wasn’t supposed to be driving after meeting the time limits, he/she continued to anyway. This may be factored into the accident claim.
Another issue that could arise is with the pre-employment screening program. This looks at reports of a driver’s inspection/crash history. A violation might be an indication of a co-driver’s lack of competency or training to be allowed behind the wheel.
Determining Accident Liability for a Truck Accident
It’s not always obvious what caused a crash. Whether it was the lead or co-driver, the trucking company is responsible for its employees. An investigation would need to be conducted, which is why it’s advantageous to secure legal representation.
Truck accident cases can be very complicated. When a victim has sustained serious injuries, there could be a lot at stake in the amount of compensation that’s recoverable. It will be important to address all of the victim’s losses, including financial, physical and emotional. To ensure one’s rights are protected, an attorney should be contacted.
At Cordisco & Saile LLC, Attorneys at Law, we specialize in accident cases. We understand the unique and complex issues that can arise after a truck crash. We’ll help you and your family establish accident liability with the appropriate party. Call us at 215-642-2335.