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Ryder Truck Accidents

trucks

Ryder trucks are a common sight on America's roads and highways, and the company -- Ryder System Inc. -- is one of the oldest trucking corporations in the United States. It was started in the 1930s in Florida as a delivery service with one vehicle. Still, it grew very quickly in the following decades as the bulk shipping in the United States transitioned from railroads to trucks. By the 1950s and 1960s, Ryder had transitioned from being a direct carrier of goods to a company that mainly leased its vehicles to customers. By the 1970s, Ryder's business also included management services for customer vehicle fleets and distribution and warehousing services.

Ryder System Inc. and Trucking Accidents

Fleet management and leasing still represents about two-thirds of Ryder's business, and it owns or leases more than 200,000 vehicles. About 15% of the company's revenues come from trucking and delivery services that it provides directly. Ryder System Inc. is still headquartered in Miami, and it employs about 40,000 people. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (and a component stock in the Dow Jones Transportation index), Ryder had revenues of about $9 billion in 2019.

With such a large number of vehicles on American roads and highways, many serious trucking accidents inevitably involve Ryder trucks.

Accident with a Ryder Truck, but is it a Ryder Employee?

Just because a truck or trailer has a well-known company name emblazoned on the side, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an employee of that company is driving the vehicle or that the named company is responsible for the driver’s negligence in a trucking accident. Different trucking companies have different business formats – some prefer to own most of their trucks and trailers and directly employ their own drivers. In contrast, other companies may lease their trucks from or to other businesses and/or employ contractors to do their driving for them.

Ryder is definitely in the second category. Although it owns and leases huge numbers of vehicles, it only directly employs several hundred truck drivers for the direct shipping business that comprises a relatively small part of its operations. If you are involved in an accident with a Ryder truck, the driver likely is either an individual who is leasing the truck or is an employee of a business leasing the vehicle from Ryder.

Who Drives Ryder Trucks?

Some Ryder vehicles may be leased by an individual or a small business for one-time use. Still, it is also very common for Ryder System Inc. trucks to be leased by medium-sized and large businesses that have a need for making regular deliveries but do not want to make the capital investment in purchasing a handful of trucks or even a larger number of vehicles, as well as maintaining the trucks. These companies will turn to a service like Ryder that will lease the vehicles to them on a long-term basis and, if the customer desires, be responsible for maintaining the trucks.

The upshot of all this is that when an accident occurs involving a Ryder truck, the negligent truck driver could be:

  • A Ryder employee;
  • An individual or small business leasing the vehicle on a short-term basis;
  • A larger business leasing the vehicle on a long-term basis.
Why it Matters for Trucking Accident Injury Cases

A primary concern in any personal injury claim resulting from an accident with a Ryder System truck – or any other commercial vehicle – is what kind of coverage is available to compensate the injury victim for his/her injuries.

Trucks – especially large tractor-trailer rigs – have a great deal more mass than the passenger vehicles that make up the bulk of traffic on our roadways. When a fully-loaded big rig that may weigh 30 or 40 times as much as a typical passenger car hits that car in a truck accident, that difference in mass means that the passenger vehicle’s safety features have very little chance of adequately protecting its driver and passengers. Indeed, accidents involving trucks are far more likely to cause death or serious injury than are accidents between passenger vehicles alone.

Since the primary factor driving the value of a personal injury claim is the severity of the physical injuries sustained, it’s even more critical, therefore in a trucking accident, that there be adequate liability insurance coverage to resolve injury claims from the accident. The driver of that Ryder truck is employed by will greatly influence the amount of liability coverage available. If that truck driver is a direct employee of Ryder or is employed by a large business leasing the Ryder truck, then the likelihood of there being adequate liability coverage or company assets to cover a large personal injury settlement or verdict is much greater.

How Are Personal Injury Cases Involving a Ryder System Truck Different from Other Cases?

The differences will mostly depend – just like the amount of liability insurance does – on the identity of the driver and lessor of the Ryder truck. If it’s an individual or small business that’s leasing the truck for a single-use, then proving liability may not be much different from a more typical traffic incident case. What is the apparent negligence on the part of the driver? What does the driver’s driving record look like? If the driver is a business employee, did the business do an adequate job of screening the driver for safety problems?

If the truck is being leased long-term from Ryder by a larger business that employs a number of drivers, then additional factors may come into play, including the driving training, safety, and compliance programs for the company, the adequacy of their record-keeping for their drivers and vehicles, past problems with that particular driver, etc. If the truck is being leased from Ryder, but Ryder is still handling the maintenance of the vehicle, then were there any mechanical problems with the vehicle that might have contributed to the accident? Would this extend liability directly to Ryder System Inc. in addition to the driver and his/her employer who is leasing the truck?

And, of course, if the vehicle is both owned and operated by Ryder, then Ryder would potentially be on the spot for all these questions of liability.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident with a Ryder Truck

If you or a member of your family is involved in an accident involving a Ryder System truck, be sure to look for help from an experienced personal injury attorney who has the skills and resources necessary to properly handle a truck accident case for clients. Truck accident injury claims – especially those involving major trucking companies like Ryder or large business employers who lease Ryder trucks – can be much more complicated than the typical traffic accident case. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith – AutoAccident.com -- has been handling major personal injury cases including trucking accidents involving companies like Ryder System Inc. since 1982.

Watch the YouTube video below to find out how soon you should contact a truck accident lawyer for your personal injury case.

Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a truck accident lawyer in Sacramento. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a Ryder truck driver, call us today for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on AvvoGoogle, and Yelp, and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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