June 16, 2014 — Trinity Industries Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of guardrails in the United States, has been hit with a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that their guardrails are defective, according to Bloomberg.
The whistleblower, Joshua Harman, is a former guardrail installer turned safety advocate. He alleges that Trinity quietly changed the design of the ET-Plus end terminal without notifying federal highway safety authorities.
The ET-Plus, approved in 2000, is supposed to act like a shock absorber and force the guardrail through a slot that deflects it away from the oncoming vehicle in a U-shape.
Harman alleges that sometime between 2002-2005, Trinity decided to make the slot one inch shorter and one inch narrower. Harman alleges that it is more likely to lock up, turning the guardrail into a spear that can puncture oncoming vehicles and passengers.
The new design was never tested or approved by highway safety authorities. Furthermore, federal safety engineers say they only learned about the design modifications in 2012, after Harman filed a whistleblower lawsuit.
The case is set for trial in July. Meanwhile, severe injuries and deaths continue to occur. At least nine personal injury lawsuits have been filed agains Trinity. Bloomberg reported the case of Darius Williams, a 24 year-old who nearly died when a guardrail punctured his door and sent him into the opposite backseat.
ABC 15 reports that in January, Jay Traylor, a 36 year-old man, lost both of his legs when a guardrail punctured the floor of his truck. Traylor has filed a lawsuit against Trinity.
Do I have a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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