Across the country, “safety features” on the end of guardrails are failing catastrophically, piercing cars, impaling drivers, and causing horrific guardrail accidents. Some are blaming the problem on a modified guardrail end-terminal manufactured by Trinity Industries.
Need a Texas Guardrail Accident Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was injured after crashing into the end of a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
Next time you’re on the highway, look for a guardrail end-terminal marked with yellow and black stripes. It is a shock-absorbing safety device that is supposed to protect you in a head-on crash, diverting the guardrail harmlessly away from your oncoming vehicle.
What is the problem?
Trinity has supplied about 500,000 of the ET-Plus guardrail end-terminals all over the United States. Approved in 2000 after thorough crash-tests, the original ET-Plus is a cheaper and lighter-weight version of the ET-2000, which was designed in the 1990s by Texas A&M.
Unfortunately, recent investigations discovered that Trinity quietly modified the design of the ET-Plus in 2005 without conducting new crash-tests or telling the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).
ET-Plus May Jam Up in a Head-On Guardrail Accident
The re-designed ET-Plus has a slightly narrower and shorter feeder chute, which saves about $2 in materials or $250,000 per year, according to internal company e-mails. Critics say it is also more likely to jam up when hit in a head-on crash.
Instead of diverting the guardrail, it buckles and causes the guardrail to act like a spear that impales oncoming vehicles and occupants. Until the safety of the ET-Plus is known, the states of Missouri, Mississippi, Oregon, Nevada, Virginia, and Massachusetts have banned further installation. Click here to read more.
Trinity Liable for Defrauding Government
In October 2014, a federal jury in Texas found Trinity liable for defrauding the federal government by failing to disclose design modifications. They awarded $175 million to the government and the whistleblower, Joshua Harman, who discovered the design changes. Harman says Trinity failed to disclose at least five failed crash-tests involving the ET-Plus.
Study Links Guardrail With 3X Increased Risk of Death
Evidence linking the ET-Plus with higher risks continues to grow. In September 2014, a study published by the Safety Institute linked the ET-Plus with a 36% increased risk of injury and a 3-fold increased risk of death compared to the ET-2000. The conclusions were based on data from 8 years of crash-data in Missouri and Ohio involving five different guardrail end-terminal designs.
14 Lawsuits Filed for Guardrail Accident Injures & Deaths
Now, Trinity is facing at least 14 lawsuits, including five deaths and even more injuries, according to the New York Times. Plaintiffs include people like Jay Traylor, a man who lost both of his legs after hitting an ET-Plus in North Carolina. Another lawsuit was filed by Brittany Robinson, a mother who was severely injured along with her young son. As awareness grows, it is likely that the litigation will continue to increase.
How Can a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit Help?
Guardrail accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, amputation of limbs, organ damage, traumatic brain damage, and death. People who survive these accidents must live with horrific injuries, medical expenses, lost times off work, decreased quality of life, permanent disability, and/or the loss of a loved one.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you could recover substantial compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
You may still be able to file a lawsuit even if it was your fault for hitting the guardrail (for example, after falling asleep at the wheel). Injuries caused by a defective guardrail are not your fault and the manufacturer could be liable for failing to adequately test or design the “safety feature.”
Need a Guardrail Accident Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas guardrail accident lawyers for a free lawsuit review.