Trinity Industries is facing growing number of Trinity guardrail lawsuits in California and other states as allegations surface involving design changes to its ET-Plus model guardrail. In addition to individual lawsuits that have been filed, a federal whistleblower lawsuit has alleged fraud by Trinity in failing to inform the U.S. government of the design changes.
Trinity Guardrail Overview
Prior to 2005, Trinity’s guardrail design included a metal part, the rail head, that was roughly five inches long. However, in 2005, the company made the decision to shorten this piece of metal down to four inches. The force of the car is intended to push the end terminal down the guardrail when it ultimately flattens the “W” into a smooth, flat ribbon of steel that comes out the side. It is this process that slows the car.
However, shortening the rail head reportedly causes the guardrail to bulge out of the ET-Plus channel during a collision and fold at the end terminal. The rail head apparently locks up, buckles over, and rips off, allowing it to penetrate and slice the vehicle. If this happens, motorists are at greater risk to become seriously injured or die.
Allegations of Injury, Death of Loved Ones
On November 6, 2014, a 24-year-old Bay Area football star was killed in a car crash that, according to experts, he could have survived if it had not been for the guardrail his vehicle struck. Some are blaming the guardrail manufacturer for the man’s death due to changes to the rail head of the ET-Plus.
Problems with the ET-Plus guardrail were reportedly initially discovered during the investigation of a car accidenr in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The ET-Plus has reportedly been involved in 14 car crashes and five deaths across the country, a higher incidence than other guardrail models on the highways.
As a result of the reported injuries and deaths, 39 states in the U.S. have banned new installations of the ET-Plus System. Several states have plans to have the guardrail end terminals removed and replaced with another model.
Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Against Trinity
A whistleblower lawsuit resulted in a veridict against Trinity. Trinity was alleged to have known of the design changes it had made in 2005 yet failed to tell the Federal Highway Administration of the alterations. In October 2014, the manufacturer was found liable for concealing information against the government and requiring to pay $175 million, an amount that could reach $525 million under treble damages provisions of the Federal False Claims Act.
Individuals who are interested in filing a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in California should consider seeking legal counsel to learn more about their options. A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have a case, and he or she may recreate the scene of the accident and interview witnesses to help you build your case.
Have questions about a Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit in California?
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident involving a Trinity guardrail? If so, you may be eligible to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in California and seek compensation from the manufacturer for your damages. Attorney Group for California can provide a consultation regarding your case at no-out-of-pocket cost to you, and we can connect you with one of our affiliated personal injury attorneys who can help you file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in California. You may be eligible to recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.