This page will look at truck accident cases involving Ryder, one of the biggest and most well known trucking and truck rental companies in the U.S.
History of Ryder
Ryder (Ryder System Inc.) is one of the oldest and largest trucking and transportation companies in North America. Ryder was originally founded by James Ryder back in 1933 in Miami, Florida as a concrete delivery company with just a single truck.
The company grew very rapidly due in part to the rapid expansion of commercial trucking, which at the time was quickly replacing rail transport as the backbone of U.S. commerce. By 1940 James Ryder had a fleet of over 50 trucks, and he started to shift the company’s focus from distribution to leasing. By the start of the 1950s Ryder was one of the fastest growing trucking companies in the country. In 1952 the company nearly doubled its size with the acquisition of Great Southern Trucking Company.
Three years later, Ryder went public, and it continues to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “R”. As a public company Ryder had access to large amounts of capital, which it used to expand into the supply chain and long distribution markets.
Ryder’s Trucking Business Today
Today Ryder’s is one of the most recognizable trucking companies in the United States. Ryder’s trucking business is focused on 3 primary segments: (1) fleet management/leasing; (2) transportation/distribution; and (3) contract carriage.
Fleet management is Ryder’s largest business division accounting for over two-thirds of company revenues. The fleet management business is primarily based on long and short-term truck leasing. Ryder owns a fleet of over 33,000 trucks which is one of the largest in the entire industry. The company leases these trucks (individually or in a group) out to commercial companies and individuals for use in transportation, shipping, moving, etc.
Ryder offers a full range of maintenance, administrative, and logistical support services for its leased trucks. The company has 800 service locations with nearly 6,000 professional technicians across the country who will help keep their leased trucks on the road.
Unlike other trucking companies like Penske, Ryder does not employ a large number of professional drivers. The company only has 500 professional drivers, so when you see a Ryder truck on the road, the driver behind the wheel is most likely employed by the company leasing the truck. Ryder’s truck fleet is one of the most
Here is a brief overview of how Ryder’s fleet management and leasing business works. Let’s say you have a small or mid-size company that manufactures widgets and sells them to widget wholesalers. Your company regularly needs to transport the widgets on trucks for delivery to wholesale customers all over the country.
Your company doesn’t have enough capital to buy and maintain its own fleet of commercial delivery trucks. Instead, your widget company can go to Ryder and lease a fleet of 20-25 Ryder trucks. Ryder not only provides the trucks but will also service and repair them and make sure all safety permits and everything else for the trucks are taken care of.
Ryder will even sell you insurance for the trucks. All your company has to do is hire some drivers.
Accidents Involving Ryder Trucks
So what happens if you are involved in an auto collision with a Ryder truck? As explained above, if you get in an accident with a Ryder truck it is probably being leased. This means the driver is not a Ryder employee but rather an employee of the company that is leasing the truck from Ryder. The company may have its own insurance or the truck may be insured through Ryder. Make sure you find this information out if you are involved in a Ryder truck accident or making a Ryder truck accident insurance claim.
If you are involved in an accident with a leased Ryder truck, the company that is leasing the truck and employing the driver is primarily liable for the accident. Ryder may not be directly liable in this situation. In some cases, however, the driver may be a Ryder employee, and the truck may actually be part of Ryder’s contract carriage fleet or some other business department.
In those situations, Ryder will be primarily liable for the accident. These situations will be less common with Ryder because the company only employs 500 professional drivers. Even with a leased Ryder truck, however, Ryder may still have some direct liability under a negligent entrustment or leasing theory.
Ryder Auto Tort Cases in Maryland
Although leased Ryder trucks are involved in a large number of accidents on Maryland roads every year, Ryder is usually not named as a direct defendant in these cases for the reasons explained above.
Ryder is still named as a defendant in about a half dozen auto tort lawsuits in Maryland each year. Most of these lawsuits involve Ryder Truck Rental, which is the short-term segment of Ryder’s leasing operation. Ryder is usually represented in these cases by the Baltimore insurance defense firm of Rollins, Smalkin, Richards & Mackie, LLC.
Summarized below are jury verdicts and reported settlements in auto tort cases in which Ryder was either named as a defendant or a leased Ryder truck was involved in the accident.
- Gryder v Wood (Idaho 2022) $34,835: Plaintiff said she was driving west on an interstate, stopped for traffic, and was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer operated by the defendant truck driver and owned by defendant Ryder Truck Rental Inc. The plaintiff suffered injuries in the accident and sued both the driver individually and Ryder. It is not clear what the negligence theory against Ryder was because the truck driver does not appear to have been a Ryder employee.
- Snow v Postal Fleet Servc. (New Jersey 2021) $275,000: A 52-year-old man who was riding a motorcycle on a freeway, suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a vehicle owned, maintained and/or operated by defendants Postal Fleet Services Inc. and Ryder Truck Rental Inc. The truck was presumably part of Ryder’s fleet of vehicles that are leased to commercial clients for short term needs. Both companies and the driver were named as defendants.
- Nunez v Martinez (California 2019) $125,000: A truck driver, operating a Ryder truck that was leased to a commercial company, struck the plaintiff’s vehicle causing him and his minor children to suffer physical injuries. The plaintiff sued both the driver and Ryder, alleging that Ryder negligently entrusted the truck to the defendant driver.
- Bridges v Addington (Oklahoma 2016) $268,000: A 12-year-old boy was crossing the street in a crosswalk when the defendant truck driver hit him while executing a left turn. The driver was an employee of a local logistics and short-haul delivery company, and he was driving a leased Ryder truck. The Ryder truck was part of a fleet of leased by the logistics company. The boy’s mother sued both the driver and the logistics company claiming the driver was negligent and under the influence of prescription pain drugs at the time. Defendants denied fault and claimed the boy ran into the intersection without warning. The case was ultimately settled for $268,000.
- Chandra v Chaney (California 2016) $800,000: A 37-year-old plaintiff was driving to work on I-80 when he was struck by a tractor-trailer truck driven by the defendant while attempting to make a lane change. The collision caused the plaintiff’s car to roll over several times, and he suffered a concussion and numerous herniated discs requiring surgery to repair. Defendant was a professional driver employed by Anderson Corporation Inc., and the tractor-trailer was part of a fleet of leased Ryder trucks. Defendant disputed his liability, claiming he made a safe lane change. The case went to pretrial mediation, but the defendants refused to go above $600,000. After a trial, the jury awarded $800,000.
- Starkey v Hanmi Inc (California 2014) $248,000: The plaintiff was rear-ended on I-70 by the defendant, who was driving a large truck that his employer was leasing from Ryder. The plaintiff alleged various back and neck injuries with partial permanent disability. A jury awarded $248,000 in damages including $201,000 for lost future earnings capacity.
Other Types of Lawsuits Against Ryder Truck
There are personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed against Ryder Truck Rentals that do not involve liability for negligently causing a motor vehicle accident. These Ryder Truck lawsuits typically fall into several other categories. These could include:
- Product Liability: Lawsuits may be filed against Ryder if a person is injured or killed due to a defective or unsafe rental truck. These vehicles get a lot of use. So they get old. Fast. Litigation like this focuses on the claim that the truck was not fit for use due to manufacturing or design defects or failure to warn users about its potential dangers.
- Negligence in Maintenance and Inspection: If a Ryder rental truck causes injury or death not due to a collision but because of poor maintenance or failure to properly inspect and repair the vehicle, there is a potential lawsuit. Plaintiffs’ Ryder Truck claims in these cases that the company failed in its duty to ensure the truck was in a safe condition before renting it out.
- Premises Liability: Injuries or deaths occurring on Ryder’s property (like rental centers) that are not directly related to a vehicle accident may lead to lawsuits. These are big facilities, a lot of people coming and going, and not everyone is paying attention. So, for example, if a customer slips and falls due to unsafe conditions at a Ryder facility, the company could be sued for premises liability.
- Workplace Accidents: If an employee is injured or killed while working for Ryder, a workers’ compensation claim usually follows. Our firm only handles Ryder truck lawsuits where there is a severe injury or wrongful death. But we can help you find the best Ryder workers’ compensation lawyer if you are unsure who to hire.
- Third-Party Actions: In some cases, Ryder might be involved in litigation not as the primary defendant but due to the actions of third parties. For example, if a product loaded onto a Ryder truck by another company is unsafe and causes injury, Ryder might be included in a lawsuit due to its role in transporting the product.
Here is a recent example of a lawsuit against Ryder Truck Rentals not from a crash. In December 2023, a lawsuit was filed against Ryder Truck Rental, Westmor Industries LLC, and several other entities over the death of a woman’s son. The Ryder wrongful death lawsuit claims that these parties were responsible for the negligent design, operation, or maintenance of a propane truck. This truck was involved in a tragic incident where it was rear-ended by the vehicle in which the woman’s son was a passenger. The collision resulted in a fire, leading to the son’s death.
The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania state court, argues that the propane delivery truck was improperly stopped on a highway, leading to the fatal rear-end collision. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of various forms of negligence, ranging from failure to properly secure the propane system to deficiencies in the truck’s design and maintenance. The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, strict liability, wrongful death, and survival actions against all parties involved.
What is the Average Settlement Value for Ryder Truck Accident Cases?
The average value of a settlement in a serious truck accident case involving national trucking companies like Ryder is around $75,000 to $110,000. The average jury award in accident cases against major trucking companies is $500,000. The settlement value of your specific case against Ryder will depend largely on how seriously you were injured.
Do Ryder Truck Drivers Have a Bad Accident Record?
No. Ryder is primarily a truck rental company. Although it does have 500 professional company drivers, chances are that if you get in an accident with a Ryder truck, the driver is probably not a Ryder employee.
Are Ryder Trucks Equipped with Advanced Safety Features?
Only a select few trucks in Ryder’s fleet appear to be fully equipped with the latest and most advanced safety features. Only the very top-end trucks in the Ryder fleet currently have key safety advancements such as Collision Mitigation Systems and lane departure warnings.
If You Get in an Accident with a Ryder Truck, Who Should You Sue?
To be on the safe side, you should probably include Ryder as a defendant. However, many Ryder trucks are rentals, so if you get in an accident with one of them, chances are the driver is not a Ryder employee, and the driver’s own separate insurance will cover the accident.
Contact Miller & Zois about Ryder Truck Accidents
If you have been involved in an accident with a Ryder truck, contact the auto accident lawyers at Miller & Zois for help. Call us at 800-553-8082 or get an online consultation.