The ET-Plus, manufactured and sold by Texas-based Trinity Industries, has recently been the subject of investigations amid reports that it made a design change to the rail head in 2005 but failed to inform the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the change before the agency purchased the product from Trinity. The redesigned guardrail system has been linked to injuries and fatalities in highway accidents across the U.S.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a guardrail, you may be eligible to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Alabama and seek compensation for losses including medical expenses, time off from work, or wrongful death damages if you have lost a loved one in a Trinity guardrail accident.. Attorney Group for Alabama is investigating cases on behalf of individuals who suspect that the ET-Plus guardrail caused them severe injury or death to a loved one. To learn more about filing a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Alabama and to schedule a free initial case evaluation, contact Attorney Group for Alabama.
Trinity Guardrail Overview
At issue in the controversial Trinity design change is a railhead, originally measuring five inches in length, that was reduced to four inches. Experts state that even a small change in metal length could increase the risk of injury or death. While the railhead is dintended to slide against the rail and fold similar to an accordion in an accident, the shortened metal could cause the railhead to jam. If this happens, instead of absorbing the shock of the impact, the guardrail could potentially penetrate the vehicle and the occupants inside the car.
Injuries and Deaths Allegedly Caused by Trinity Guardrail
A report published by The Safety Institute in October 2014 analyzed the ET-Plus system and data from injuries and deaths in off-road car accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2013 in Ohio, as well as between 2005 and 2014 in Missouri. In each accident investigated, contact with a guardrail was determined to be the most harmful event. Researchers found that, when compared to the ET-2000, the Trinity guardrail model that preceded the ET-Plus, the ET-Plus was 2.86 times more likely to cause death and 1.36 times more likely to cause serious injuries to vehicle occupants. As a result, researchers place the ET-Plus among the deadliest guardrails in the U.S.
Trinity guardrail lawsuit attorneys in Alabama note that the ET-Plus has been linked to at least five fatalities, as well as numerous injuries, in at least 14 car accidents in the country. Although Trinity at first denied any wrongdoing, several internal communications and documents from a senior engineer who was responsible for examining the units reportedly illustrate that there was concern about the safety of the products.
Jurors Find Trinity Liable for Fraud
In a whistleblower lawsuit filed against Trinity, the company was alleged to have defrauded the U.S. government by neglecting to inform the FHA of the 2005 design changes. According to the lawsuit, the change increased the likelihood that the guardrails could penetrate the vehicles instead of absorbing the shock of the crash as they were initially designed, thus increasing the risk of injury or death to the vehicle’s occupants.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, and in October 2014, jurors found the manufacturer liable and returned a verdict of $175 million against the company, which could triple under the False Claims Act to $525 million.
Individuals who have been injured or who have lost a loved one in a crash involving the ET-Plus may have options. It is important to seek legal counsel to determine whether you are eligible to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Alabama and seek compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced attorney who can help you determine if you are eligible to recover damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, and more.
Have Questions about Filing a Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit in Alabama?
Attorney Group for Alabama is currently providing free, no-obligation consultations to individuals who have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving the Trinity guardrail. Contact us for a free consultation to help determine whether you are eligible to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Alabama. There are no out-of-pocket expenses, and we can connect you with an affiliated attorney to help you seek the monetary compensation to which you may be entitled.