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Guardrail Accident Lawsuit

Guardrail Accident Lawsuit

Thousands of miles of highways have “safety features” on the end of guardrails that are supposed to protect drivers in a head-on crash. Unfortunately, at least 14 lawsuits allege that a modified guardrail can fail catastrophically, piercing cars and impaling passengers in horrific accidents.

What You Can Do & How a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured in a head-on crash with the end of a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Guardrail Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Overview

Over 500,000 of the ET-Plus guardrail end-terminals are installed throughout the United States. Next time you’re on the highway, look for a steel device marked with yellow and black stripes mounted on the end of the guardrail. This is an impact-absorbing safety device that is designed to slow down an oncoming car and deflect the guardrail away.

What is the problem?

Head-on crashes with the end of a guardrail can be deadly. In the 1990s, engineers at Texas A&M developed a safety device called the ET-2000. Trinity Industries modified the device to make it lighter and cheaper, and after thorough crash-tests, the ET-Plus was approved in 2000.

The problem is that recent investigations determined that Trinity changed the design of the ET-Plus in 2005 without conducting new crash-tests or telling the government.

ET-Plus May Impale Vehicles in Guardrail Accidents

The re-designed ET-Plus has a slightly shorter and narrower feeder chute, which critics say is more likely to lock up. Instead of diverting the guardrail away from the oncoming car, the guardrail buckles and acts like a spear that impales the vehicle.

The modifications shave steel off a key piece of metal, which saves about $2 per product. Internal e-mails from Trinity estimate the savings at $250,000 per year. The states of Oregon, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, Nevada, and Massachusetts have banned further installation pending investigations. Click here to read more.

Texas Jury Awards $175 Million After Trinity Found Liable for Fraud

The design modifications were discovered by a whistleblower named Joshua Harman, who filed a lawsuit against Trinity on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act. When the case went to trial in October 2014, a jury found Trinity liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes. They awarded $175 million, which was tripled to $525 million under federal law. Click here to read more.

Study Links ET-Plus With Increased Risk of Injury & Death

In September 2014, the Safety Institute published a study from engineers at the University of Alabama who examined crash-data in Missouri and Ohio for eight years, including five models of guardrail-end terminals. They found the ET-Plus was 36% more likely to produce an injury than the ET-2000, and nearly 3-times as likely to produce a fatality.

Guardrail Accident Lawsuits

Trinity Industries has already lost a whistleblower lawsuit involving the ET-Plus. They are now facing at least 14 lawsuits involving five wrongful deaths and even more injuries, according to the New York Times. Many members of this litigation include people who have lost limbs, such as Jay Traylor, a man who is now a double-amputee.

How Can a Lawsuit Help?

Guardrail accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, lacerations, loss of limbs, amputation, traumatic brain injury, organ damage, and death. For survivors, the medical expenses can pile up as victims are unable to work. The long-term impact of a disability can severely decrease quality of life.

If you decide to file a lawsuit, you could receive compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. Even if you were responsible for hitting the guardrail (for example, you fell asleep at the wheel), our lawyers can let you know if you are still eligible to join this litigation.

Do I have a Guardrail Accident Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured in a head-on crash with the end of a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Guardrail Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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