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How Victims Can Hold Ruan Transportation Accountable

If you've recently been involved in an collision involving a commercial vehicle, you're probably anxious to see the company that caused your injuries held accountable. However, it's important for you to know the law places the burden on you as the plaintiff to prove that the commercial driver caused the harm you've suffered, and that the process of doing so on your own will be much more difficult than you may expect.

This is especially true if your injuries were caused by a careless driver for a company like Ruan Transportation, which has a strong reputation for safe practices. In order to succeed, you'll need experienced legal representation, who can overcome the effect the company's aura of safety can have on a jury by focusing their attention on the relevant facts of the crash. Commercial truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Ruan Transportation?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • How could the company's reputation for safety affect claims against them?

What is Ruan Transportation?

Founded by John Ruan more than 80 years ago, Ruan Transportation has since grown into the 41st largest trucking company in the U.S., with annual revenues of over $800 million in 2017. The company controls a fleet of almost 3,000 trucks, operated by roughly 2,700 drivers. Combined, they transported cargo over more than 180 million miles last year, which is further than the distance from the Earth to Mars.

Over the last two years, federal government data shows that Ruan tractor-trailers have been involved in around 150 crashes, of which 34 have led to injuries and 6 have resulted in fatalities.

We should emphasize that these numbers can only speak to the number of wrecks and their consequences, not which party is at fault for any given crash. However, given the sheer number documented, it's quite likely that at least some percentage were caused by a Ruan driver's carelessness.

Most trucking companies at least make a pretense of their commitment to safety as a priority, even if their posturing isn't always well-supported by employees' day-to-day actions. However, there are some, including Ruan, who've taken concrete action to demonstrate how much they value drivers' safe operation of their 18-wheelers.

It's certainly a good thing when a significant player in an industry with as much potential risk to the public as commercial trucking puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to safety. Unfortunately, the impression that a company's reputation for safety can create in the minds of a jury could also make it even more difficult to hold them accountable when one of their drivers makes a mistake that leads to someone being killed or injured.

How Can Ruan's Image As A "Safe Trucking Company" Affect Your Case?

Starting from its earliest years of operation, when it was the first commercial transportation company to implement a formal safety program, Ruan has historically been one trucking company for whom safe practices are a major priority. This is reflected in the many industry awards Ruan has received for its crash prevention programs, including the Volvo Trucks 2015 Safety Award.

To cite just one example of the company's efforts in this regard, an internal program for drivers known as Megasafe, is structured around 7 Rules of Safe Driving, which plenty of drivers, commercial and otherwise, would do well to heed. These include maintaining proper following distance, adjusting speed for changing road conditions, and a system to increase the safety of lane changes, a maneuver demanding particular care with a vehicle as large as a semi-truck. These rules are reinforced through quarterly safety meetings and awards for driving without a crash.

Obviously, any number of crashes caused by a commercial driver's negligence is too many, and as someone who's suffered the consequences of one, their company's extensive safety protocols probably don't mean much to you. We only discuss them here because a documented reputation for encouraging safe practices can make it easier for a company's defense attorneys to convince a jury that the driver's employer should bear less of the fault than the facts of the crash would suggest.

This strategy can work because juries are generally inclined to punish bad guys and reward good guys, and will try to see anyone involved in litigation as falling into one category or the other. When they see that a company that mostly operates safely looks like it just had one bad driver who screwed up, most juries will be less inclined to demand that they pay substantial compensation than they probably would if the company involved had a history of throwing responsible practices to the wind for the sake of their bottom line.

Safety procedures are only as effective as the individual driver's commitment to actually following them, even under the intense time pressure or stress that are commonplace in the industry.

While having a commitment to safety is laudable, our civil justice system doesn't exempt any trucking company from liability for its employees' negligence on the job, just because it takes active measures to reduce crashes across its fleet as a whole. After all, safety procedures are only as effective as each driver's commitment to following them, even under the intense time pressure or stress that are commonplace in the industry.

The good news is that an experienced truck accident attorney can counter the potential effects of a jury viewing a trucking company as "safe" by keeping their attention focused on the facts and evidence at hand, presented in a clear, compelling narrative with minimal ambiguity.

Hard evidence like engine control module (ECM) data showing a truck's travel behavior, cell phone records, and physical evidence collected from the scene all help ground your case in the specific careless actions that harmed you, rather than the attempts of a driver's employer to encourage safe driving. However, because that evidence is the trucking company's property, they're under no obligation to hand it over just because you ask. Only a properly drafted subpoena can compel them to do so.

How The Experienced Help of Grossman Law Offices Can Strengthen Your Case

A trucking company's reputation for safety is just one of the hundreds of factors that, if not addressed properly, can work against the interests of victims in commercial truck accident cases. That's why it's so important for them to have someone on their side who knows how to counter any argument that might damage their claim's chances of success.

It's easy for someone to put out a virtual shingle saying they know what they're doing when it comes to these complex cases, but extensive experience is the only way to truly be prepared for all of the difficulties they involve. At Grossman Law Offices, we have the benefit of 30 years successfully resolving semi-truck injury and wrongful death claims against companies of all sizes, from the massive firms that dominate the industry to small outfits of a few dozen employees.

If you've suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Ruan semi-truck, please give us a call today at 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help. We're available 24/7 to answer your questions and hear your concerns.

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