Guardrails on highways are a common sight, and are supposed to protect drivers and passengers if their vehicle leaves the roadway by absorbing the impact, thereby minimizing injuries. However, guardrails have also been known to take lives.
The family of a 21-year-old Illinois man filed a wrongful death suit against Dallas-based Trinity Industries, alleging that its ET-Plus Guardrail was responsible for the man’s death. He fell asleep at the wheel and hit the guardrail, which penetrated the vehicle and impaled the driver. His passenger suffered minor injuries.
The ET-Plus guardrails have been the subject of scrutiny for several years, with critics saying they are unsafe and fail to meet government standards. A lawsuit filed against Trinity by one of its competitors claims the company modified its ET-Plus Guardrail without notifying the proper government agencies. The suit claimed that instead of peeling backward to absorb an impact, the modified guardrails double over to form a pointed steel end that can pierce a vehicle and cause death or terrible injury.
The Illinois suit claims that Trinity reduced the size of the U-shaped chute on the ET-Plus guardrails to save $2 per guardrail in 2005 without conducting any testing or notifying the government. Shrinking the size of chute width and the width of the exist gap made the guardrail more likely to injure than save someone in a car accident.
In 2015, a Texas federal judge ordered Trinity to pay $663 million for modifying the ET-Plus, hiding those modifications from the government and falsely certifying that the ET-Plus units had been accepted by the Federal Highway Administration.
If you or someone you love has been injured, our Texas personal injury attorneys have the experience and resources to help you through this difficult time and obtain just compensation for your injuries. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.