Georgia is following several other states that have announced intentions to cease the installation of the possibly hazardous ET-Plus guardrail system manufactured and marketed by Trinity Industries. The Georgia Department of Transportation has stated that it will stop installing the guardrails until results from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHA) new safety crash tests are released. According to a report by Channel 2, a man was killed while riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle that collided with an ET-Plus guardrail. Sources state that the guardrail pierced the rear door and struck the man in the back of the head.
If you or a loved one were injured by a Trinity guardrail in Georgia, contact the Georgia Injury Attorney Group for assistance. We can help to answer your questions and assist you in determining whether you may be eligible to file a Georgia Trinity guardrail lawsuit. We can also refer you to an affiliated attorney who can help you through the legal process.
Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail System
Many guardrails are designed to fold into the rail as the shock from an impact is absorbed. While the ET-2000, another guardrail manufactured by Trinity reportedly performs in the expected manner, the company reportedly altered the design of the ET-Plus in 2005, decreasing the length of a metal component from five inches to four inches.
This alteration, according to a whistleblower responsible for bringing to light the design change, increases the risk of injury or death as it causes the rail head to act as a bayonet. In the event of a crash, the rail head can reportedly pierce through the vehicle and impale or cut objects or occupants inside the car. According to ABC News, who obtained internal documents from Trinity, a $50,000 annual savings was reported due to the change.
The New York Times published an article stating that more than 14 accidents throughout the U.S. have occurred due to the ET-Plus, resulting in more than 10 injuries and five deaths. 39 states have currently banned the guardrails, and many states are awaiting the results of additional crash safety testing to be completed by the FHA. However, other states, have reported that they will begin to remove the guardrails from roadways, regardless of the outcome of the FHA’s studies.
Study Suggests ET-Plus Can Cause Injury or Death
The Safety Institute recently released the results from a study in which researchers analyzed data from car accidents in Missouri and Ohio between 2005 and 2014 in which the most harmful event was determined to be contact with a guardrail. After reviewing the data, researchers found that there was a significant increase in the risk of injury and death between the ET-2000 and the altered ET-Plus. According to the results, motorists were 2.86 times more likely to die and 1.36 times more likely to sustain an injury if they were to be in an accident involving the ET-Plus.
Lawsuits Allege Wrongdoing by Trinity
Thw whistleblower lawsuit against Trinity accused the company of making the potentially dangerous design change and failing to inform the FHA of this alteration before it sold the product to the government. On October 20, 2014, jurors in Texas federal court found Trinity responsible for defrauding the government and ordered the manufacturer to pay $175 million for its actions.
However, the $175 million award triples under the False Claims Act, resulting in a total potential judgment of $525 million. Thw whistleblower will receive a portion of the award for his part in filing the lawsuit, and the U.S. Treasury will receive the remaining amount. Trinity plans to appeal the verdict.
In addition to the recent verdict in the whistleblower lawsuit, persons in the U.S. who believe they have been injured or lost a loved one due to injuries caused by the ET-Plus should consider seeking legal counsel to learn more about filing a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Georgia.
Contact the Georgia Injury Attorney Group
Do you believe that you may be eligible to file a Georgia Trinity guardrail lawsuit? We can help. There are no out-of-pocket expenses to speak with us, and we can provide you with a comprehensive case evaluation to help you determine whether you have a case. If you decide to seek damages for your injuries, we can connect you with one of our affiliated attorneys who can help you to file your Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Georgia and pursue the compensation to which you may be entitled.