It’s common for truck drivers to share driving duties with a co-driver. While one driver sleeps, the other driver drives, and vice versa, allowing them to cover more ground quickly and complete transcontinental trips faster. This system works well, but it can create some legal issues when truck accidents occur. If you are a co-driver and have been injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced Los Angeles lawyer on your side to fight for your rights.
Whether you are seeking an insurance settlement or compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, a skilled lawyer will advocate for your rights throughout the process. At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we focus our legal practice on advocating for our clients to recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We will thoroughly investigate your case and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case. Our lawyers know how to negotiate effectively with insurance companies and in the pre-trial process. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Truck Co-Driver Rights: Can the Co-Driver Who Was Not Driving Be Held Liable?
If you are a truck driver who was off duty at the time of the truck accident, you may be worried about the injured victims bringing a lawsuit against you. Can a co-driver who was sitting in the passenger seat or resting in the back of the truck be held financially responsible for a truck accident? Typically not, unless the off-duty co-driver contributed or caused the accident somehow. Suppose the off-duty co-driver somehow distracted the driver or allowed the driver to start driving knowing he or she was intoxicated. In that case, the off-duty co-driver may be liable. In most cases, the off-duty co-driver is bringing a lawsuit against the truck driver who caused the accident.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident Involving Co-Drivers?
Recent changes in federal regulations regarding what constitutes being on the clock can result in the driver and co-driver falling under different areas of the law. Suppose you were asleep in the passenger seat, and your co-driver negligently veers into another lane of traffic and causes an accident, resulting in you suffering injuries. If you are an employee of a trucking company, you might assume that your employer’s workers’ compensation plan will cover your injuries since you were on the job when the accident happened. However, many workers’ compensation policies assume that truckers who are not on the clock when the accident occurs are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Similarly, if you are an independent contractor when your co-driver causes the truck accident, you will likely not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Truckers can still operate as independent contractors due to an exception in California’s AB5 law, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. In these situations, the best way to recover compensation for injuries could be to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
Even if you successfully file a workers’ compensation claim, you will only be entitled to premium payments that will eventually expire in most cases. Filing a successful personal injury lawsuit will help you obtain a considerable sum of compensation. If the trucking company negligently hired your co-driver who caused the accident, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer. If another passenger driver caused the accident, you and your co-driver may be able to bring a lawsuit against him or her.
Recovering Compensation As the Off-Duty Truck Driver
If you are involved in a truck accident as the off-duty co-driver, you may be understandably concerned about how you’ll recover compensation for your injuries. When you realize that workers’ compensation may not cover the full extent of your economic damages, you are likely concerned about how you will pay all of your medical bills while recovering from your injuries. When drivers suffer catastrophic injuries, workers’ compensation benefits often don’t cut it.
One option is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance or the employer’s commercial insurance policy. Doing so could be a good option, depending on the limits of the insurance policy. However, the settlement offer may not be high enough to cover all of your medical expenses and lost work time in many cases. When catastrophic injuries are involved, filing a personal injury lawsuit is often the best legal option.
Recovering Compensation After a Truck Accident
There are many moving parts when it comes to proving liability in a co-driver case involving truck accidents. Tuck accident cases are more complicated than most passenger vehicle accidents because they involve complex federal rules and regulations. Accidents involving co-drivers require a thorough investigation. If you are the off-duty co-driver, you will need to prove that your fellow driver’s negligent or reckless behavior caused the accident. At SoCal Injury Lawyers, we have the experience and professional network to investigate the truck accident that caused your injuries effectively.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today to Fight for Your Co-Driver Rights
Our skilled lawyers have handled many truck accidents involving co-driving teams. We have a proven track record of securing millions of dollars for our injured clients in cases involving truck accidents. We are familiar with all of the relevant trucking regulations and California laws involved in truck accident lawsuits. We’re prepared to negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies and throughout the process assertively. We’ve earned a reputation throughout Los Angeles for securing large amounts of compensation for our clients from insurance companies and in personal injury lawsuits. If you are interested in discussing your truck accident with us, please contact us today.