Lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by the Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail. On impact, this guardrail end-cap is supposed to fold up like an accordion, but plaintiffs say it can jam up and impale oncoming cars like a spike.
Need a Texas Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail 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 by a defective guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
UPDATE: Texas Guardrail Company Hit With Wrongful Death Lawsuit
January 13, 2017 — A lawsuit (PDF) has been filed by the family of a man who was impaled by an ET-Plus Guardrail just hours after attending the funeral of his sister. Click here to read more.
December 6, 2016 — The mother of a man from Peoria, Texas who died when his car was impaled by a Trinity ET-Plus guardrail has filed a lawsuit. Click here to read more.
July 25, 2016 — The U.S. government published results of a year-long investigation. They are recommended independent third-party tests for guardrails and faulted the FHWA for allowing labs to crash-test guardrails despite conflicts of interest. Click here to read more.
December 21, 2015 — Virginia will replace thousands of guardrails that have been declared unsafe, including many ET-Plus models sold by Trinity Industries. Click here to read more.
October 29, 2015 — Lawsuits have been filed by the families of three people who died and one person who was injured in head-on crashes with Trinity guardrails. Click here to read more.
October 5, 2015 — Trinity Industries will have to face a lawsuit filed by The Clark Firm, LLP on behalf of a couple who were injured when a guardrail punctured their car. Click here to read more.
September 21, 2015 — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is conducting independent crash tests of the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end-terminals. Click here to read more.
June 30, 2015 — Trinity Industries Inc., maker of a controversial highway guardrail linked to at least nine deaths, has been ordered to pay $663 million for failing to tell the government about design changes that may have made the guardrail more dangerous. Click here to read more.
May 22, 2015 — Federal highway officials have decided to close a loophole that allowed guardrail-makers to modify and sell new products without conducting new crash-tests. Click here to read more.
April 27, 2015 — More details into the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal investigation into guardrails made by Trinity Industries have been provided by the New York Times. Click here to read more.
April 22, 2015 — The corruption and special prosecutions unit of the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation involving the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail. Click here to read more.
April 16, 2015 — A lawsuit was been filed on behalf of a man who was impaled by a controversial guardrail and died in a horrific accident last year. Click here to read more.
March 16, 2015 — After a massive political lobbying blitz, Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail has passed all eight crash tests, despite severely damaging the driver’s door in one of the tests. Click here to read more.
February 4, 2015 — The last crash-test involving Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail may have been a failure. Click here to read more.
January 28, 2015 — The first eight safety tests involving the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail are complete, with no word yet on the results of the tests. Click here to read more.
January 19, 2015 — Two senators have raised concern that safety tests of the ET-Plus guardrail do not meet current standards and will ignore vulnerability at certain impact-angles. Click here to read more.
January 8, 2015 — Safety tests involving a guardrail resumed yesterday in San Antonio, Texas, where a producer for local news KSAT observed the fourth out of eight tests. Click here to read more.
December 30, 2014 — Kansas and Missouri joined 40 states in banning further installations of the ET-Plus, removing it from their list of approved highway products until safety tests prove it is not defective. Click here to read more.
December 17, 2014 — As safety tests continue this week, the New York Times has reported that half of the guardrails being tested differ from those actually installed on the road. Out of the eight guardrails being tested in Texas, four have an exit gap of 1.25-inches, making them 25% wider than many of the guardrails on American roads. Click here to read more.
December 15, 2014 — The attorney general in Virginia has filed a lawsuit against Trinity Industries, seeking reimbursement for the cost of removing and replacing thousands of highway guardrails if crash-tests find them to be defective. Click here to read more.
December 4, 2014 — Members of the media will be barred from observing or recording a series of federally-mandated crash-tests involving the ET-Plus guardrail. Click here to read more.
November 13, 2014 — Trinity Industries will start crash-testing the ET-Plus guardrail next week in San Antonio, Texas, with a former business partner. Tests should run until January 2015. Click here to read more.
November 7, 2014 — Trinity Industries has narrowly avoided a federal ban on the ET-Plus guardrail after promising to conduct new safety tests. Click here to read more.
November 6, 2014 — The death of a 24 year-old San Francisco man has been blamed on a defective ET-Plus guardrail that failed to absorb the impact of his vehicle in a head-on collision. Click here to read more.
October 28, 2014 — Virginia has become the first state to start removing tens of thousands of potentially defective guardrails from their highways. Click here to read more.
October 27, 2014 — Trinity will stop shipments of its ET-Plus highway guardrail systems until more crash-testing determines whether the “safety feature” can actually impale vehicles in a head-on guardrail accident. Click here to read more.
October 24, 2014 — Mississippi and Oregon have joined a growing list of states banning further installation of the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail, pending investigations into design changes that may have compromised safety. Click here to read more.
October 21, 2014 — A jury in Texas has found that Trinity Industries defrauded the federal government by concealing design changes on its highway guardrails, potentially resulting in thousands of defective and dangerous guardrails installed throughout the United States. The company may have to pay up to $1 billion in damages, on top of potential liability in at least 9 personal injury and wrongful death claims. Click here to read more.
October 17, 2014 — In federal court, trial attorneys in Marshall, Texas have accused Trinity Industries of intentionally concealing five failed crash tests involving defective guardrails. Click here to read more.
October 15, 2014 — Amid growing safety concerns, the states of Missouri, Nevada, Virginia, and Massachusetts have banned further installation of the ET-Plus Guardrail over concern about impalement of people and vehicles in accidents. Click here to read more.
What is ET-Plus Guardrail?
The ET-Plus Guardrail is manufactured by Trinity Industries Inc. of Dallas, Texas. In the last decade, hundreds of thousands of these $1,500 guardrail safety devices have been installed on highways all over the United States.
Upon impact, the guardrail is supposed to be extruded through the end-cap, flattened out into a ribbon, and deflected away from the oncoming vehicle — thus absorbing and dissipating the collision. This safety feature was crash-tested and approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 2000.
What is the problem?
In March 2012, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed in federal court in Texas by a whistleblower who says a different ET-Plus Guardrail was quietly introduced in 2005. The width of the head was changed from five inches to four inches. The height of the feeder channel was changed from 15-3/8 inches to 14-7/8 inches.
According to the lawsuit, the smaller feeder chute can cause the guardrail to get stuck and buckle up in the head during an impact:
“Once throat locked, the energy of the crash is diverted elsewhere usually causing the guardrail to double over on itself or protrude through the crashing vehicle. If the guardrail and head assembly protrude like a spear through the vehicle, the inevitable result is usually death or serious bodily injury to the persons in the vehicle.”
Federal safety officials say they were not aware of the design change until the whistleblower lawsuit was filed.
Trinity argues that the lawsuit was filed out of spite. The whistleblower, Josh Harman, was involved in a patent dispute with Trinity that cost his business $12 million and led it to file for bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Trinity has filed a defamation lawsuit against Harman.
ET-Plus Linked to 3X Increased Risk of Death Compared to ET-2000
In September 2014, researchers at the University of Alabama and the Safety Institute published a study after finding that the ET-Plus is 36% more likely to cause injuries and 3-times as likely to cause death compared to the ET-2000, an older and heavier model that was designed by Texas A&M. Conclusions were based on 8 years of crash data from Ohio and Missouri and compared five different guardrail end-terminal models.
At least nine personal injury lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by the guardrails, but Harman says dozens of injuries have occurred. According to ABC15 in Arizona, accidents linked to the problem include:
- 39 year-old Tennessee woman, Sabrena Carrier, crashed into an end terminal and the guardrail went through her torso. She had severe organ damage and bleeding that caused her death five hours later.
- 20 year-old New York woman, Marzena Mulawka, hit an end-terminal after being rear-ended in January 2010. The guardrail penetrated her driver’s side door, severed her right leg, and caused other injuries.
- 20 year-old Florida man, Charles Pike, was a passenger in a vehicle that swerved off the road and hit the end-terminal. The guardrail punctured the vehicle and sliced his left leg below the knee. He had to have the leg amputated in October 2010.
ET-Plus Guardrail Class Action
The Clark Firm, LLP is nationally recognized as a class action law firm. However, our attorneys are not filing a guardrail class action against Trinity Industries. Instead, we are filing individual lawsuits and focusing on helping people with the most serious injuries.
Need a Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail 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 Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail lawyers for a free lawsuit review.