Truck drivers will sometimes have a co-driver, or passenger, that comes along with them on their routes. Co-drivers, also referred to as second drivers or B-seats, are usually either a partner or a trainee.
It’s important for co-drivers to act in a safe manner when they are on the road, and take whatever actions are reasonable to prevent an accident from occurring. If a co-driver acts in a careless or negligent manner and his or her actions contribute to an accident, co-driver liability for a truck accident in Clarksburg can be factored into a victim's claim for damages.
Ways Co-Drivers’ Negligence Factor into Liability
There are several types of situations in which a co-driver could be negligent and either wholly or partially responsible for an accident. One example is horseplay. If the co-driver goofs off and engages in horseplay with the driver and it leads to an accident, s/he can be found negligent. Another example of negligence is if the co-driver was not adequately trained or was found to be incompetent.
One of the other ways that co-drivers are partially responsible for a truck accident is when they fail to intervene. Co-drivers cannot sit back and allow a driver to engage in an obvious risk without saying or doing something about it. If the co-driver recognizes the driver is doing something dangerous and does nothing to intervene, partial responsibility could rest on the co-driver’s shoulders.
Below are a few examples of driver behaviors in which a co-driver should intervene.
- The driver was obviously sleeping, and nodding off or swerving
- The driver was texting or rummaging around for an object while driving or was otherwise distracted
- The driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- The driver was logging more hours than allowed
Who do you file a claim against?
If the co-driver and the driver are both partly responsible for the truck accident, which one do you file a claim against? It may surprise you that in most cases, you will file a claim against the truck company. Respondeat superior is a legal concept that provides employers are responsible for their workers’ actions performed within the course of their employment.
In other words, truck companies have a legal responsibility to employ only responsible drivers (and co-drivers), and they are thus liable in a truck accident claim.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Establish Liability
Proving a truck accident claim is neither simple nor easy. You will need to have adequate evidence to establish the driver's or co-driver's – and therefore the company’s – liability, as well as be able to break down the defenses that the truck company’s attorneys will try to use.
If you or your loved one were injured in an accident caused by a truck driver or the co-driver, speak to an attorney for assistance. A truck accident lawyer will be able to take the steps necessary to locate and preserve important evidence and build a case to establish liability to the insurance company or courts.
Reputable attorneys are well-trained at getting their hands on difficult-to-obtain evidence, such as the following.
- Drivers’ log books
- Cell phone records (to prove the driver was using the phone while driving)
- Traffic cam footage
- Truck cam footage
- Breathalyzer and drug test results
- Drivers' and co-drivers’ training and driving histories
- Witness testimonies
All of these items can be instrumental in winning your claim.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney in Clarksburg
To discuss your case with a truck accident attorney in Clarksburg and review co-driver liability and what this means for your accident claim, call the Miley Legal Group. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at 304-931-4088 for a free consultation.