Can a truck’s co-driver be responsible for causing my crash?
Many people involved in a truck accident may not realize that more than the truck driver could be in the truck cab. In some cases, a trucking company will have a truck driver and co-driver go on a trip together. This can make the trip go faster because both drivers can take turns driving a shift. However, even when the co-driver is the passenger in the cab, he could be at least partially liable for causing a truck accident.
Common Ways Co-Driver Negligence Causes Truck Accidents
While the truck’s driver is responsible for his own actions, co-drivers can be negligent, too. They could face responsibility to a truck accident victim in these situations:
- Ignoring dangerous conditions. When the co-driver notices dangerous conditions that could cause an accident and does nothing, he could be held responsible. For example, if he observed that the trucker was fatigued, intoxicated, ill, or distracted and did not step in to correct the situation, the co-driver might be considered negligent if a crash occurred.
- Distracting the driver. If the co-driver distracted the driver by engaging in horseplay, arguing, playing loud music, or showing the driver something on his cell phone, he could be primarily responsible for an ensuing wreck.
- Encouraging hours of service violations. Under federal regulations, a trucker is only allowed to drive a certain number of hours in a workday and a work week. If the co-driver encourages the driver to drive for longer than allowed or does not take actions to get him to comply with the laws, he could be considered negligent if the trucker causes an accident. The co-driver could also face responsibility if he violated these hours of service rules himself.
- Failing to complete log books. Both the trucker and co-driver are required to complete a logbook under federal regulations. If the logbook is missing information, was altered, or shows violations, they may both be held responsible for a crash.
- Driving when not experienced. Some co-drivers are not qualified or experienced enough to drive a truck. If an inexperienced co-driver gets behind the wheel and causes an injury accident, the victims could pursue a claim with his insurance company. In addition, the trucking company could face liability under a negligent hiring claim or under vicarious liability laws.
If you suffered injuries in a truck wreck caused by a trucker or his co-driver, attorney Steve Lee is here to help. To schedule your free consultation, call our office, or fill out our online form.