While highway guardrails are, in theory, designed to keep motorists safe, 39 states in the U.S. have banned a certain guardrail after safety concerns were raised during an ongoing investigation. According to officials, an alteration to the design of the ET-Plus System manufactured by Trinity Industries can jam the rail head when a car collides with it, causing the rail to become a bayonet-ike and pierce any object or person in its way. According to a study conducted by The Safety Institute, the newly designed version is about 2.86 times more likely to cause a fatality than previous designs.
The New York Times reports that pending lawsuits allege five deaths from the guardrails and “many more injuries.” Due to the increasing number of injuries and deaths that have been reported, Attorney Group for Iowa is currently offering free case evaluations to individuals who wish to determine if they may be eligible to file an Iowa Trinity guardrail lawsuit. There are no up-front costs to receive a consultation, and we can connect you with an affiliated attorney if you have a case.
Memos Show Engineers
According to internal memos, one of the manufacturer’s engineers raised questions about the safety of the guardrails,to an outside expert on safety. In 2005, the manufacturer allegedly changed the width of a steel metal channel behind the guardrail’s rail head without first notifying the Federal Highway Administration, despite being required to do so. It was not until 2012 that the redesign was discovered during the investigation of a crash site in Texas.
Safety Study Suggests ET-Plus is More Dangerous Than Predecessor
According to The Safety Institute, researchers analyzed car crashes that occurred between 2005 and 2014 to determine whether there was any relationship between injury or death and the type of guardrail involved in the accident. In each incident, “contact with a guardrail” was determined to be the “most harmful event.”
Researchers found that, in two states, motorists were 2.86 percent more likely to die and 1.36 more likely to be injured by the ET-Plus than its predecessor, the ET-2000. The results also indicated that there was no specific correlation between the other three types of guardrails studied.
As a result of the safety tests as well as the increasing number of lawsuits filed on behalf of victims and surviving family members of those who were allegedly killed as a result of the guardrail, 39 states have banned the product, and some have already made plans to remove the guardrails from the roadways. Officials for other states have stated that they will wait to review the results from the new crash safety tests once the FHA is finished with its investigation.
Trinity Named as a Defendant in Whistleblower Case
In a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, jurors found Trinity liable of defrauding the government by hiding the design change, despite having the responsibility to inform the FHA of an alterations before the agency purchased the rails. The verdict against Trinity was $175 million, which could ultimately triple to $525 million under provisions of the federal False Claims Act.
Individuals injured by a Trinity guardrail may also consider filing an Iowa Trinity guardrail lawsuit for their injuries or if they lost a loved one following a collision with an ET-Plus guardrail. While compensation is never guaranteed, it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney who can help you to determine if you are eligible to file an Iowa Trinity guardrail lawsuit and recover damages for your injuries.
Questions About a Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit in Iowa?
Contact Attorney Group for Iowa for a free comprehensive case evaluation if you believe that you may be eligible to recover damages for your injuries after you were in an accident and you involving the ET-Plus. We can help you to determine if you have a claim, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses to speak with us. If you have a case, we can refer you to one of our affiliated attorneys who can file your Iowa Trinity guardrail lawsuit.