A number of U.S. states have banned the use of the ET-Plus guardrail system, manufactured and marketed by Trinity Industries. In 2014, a Texas jury found Trinity guilty of defrauding the government when it did not inform the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of a design change that decreased the length of a critical part of the guardrail from five inches to four inches. While the FHA demanded that Trinity retest the guardrail, states throughout the country, including Mississippi, are currently prohibiting the use of the guardrail on their roadways.
Attorney Group for Mississippi is currently evaluating potential Trinity guardrail lawsuits in Mississippi. Contact us if you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a highway guardrail. Out consultations are free and without obligation. If you have a claim, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Mississippi on your behalf.
Questionable Design Change
According to media reports as well as lawsuits pending against Trinity, a 2005 design change in the ET-Plus guardrail system has been linked to 14 accidents in the U.S., resulting in approximately ten severe injuries and five deaths. While an earlier guardrail design included an end terminal that was supposed to fold and push the metal away from the vehicle upon impact, Trinity reportedly narrowed the piece of metal behind the railhead, a change that ultimately increased the risk of injury and death, according to reports. While the change has raised concern, Trinity is also under scrutiny for failing to inform the federal government of the change as it was legally obligated to do before selling the product to the FHA.
Mississippi is reportedly in the process of locating the Trinity guardrails at issue throughout the state, and sources show that Mississippi has paid $1.2 million over the past decade to Trinity Highway Products, a subsidiary of Trinity Industries. While a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Transportation has no information linking an injury or death to the guardrails in the state, it will nevertheless be removing the existing railheads and prohibiting their installation until they are proven to be safe.
The Safety Institute Releases Study Results
The safety of the ET-Plus was analyzed by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on behalf of The Safety Institute. A study was conducted in which researchers examined crash statistics for eight-year periods between 2005 and 2013 and 2005 and 2014 in Ohio and Missouri, respectively. Guardrail contact was the most harmful event in each of the studied car accidents. The study suggested that the Trinity design change in 2005 significantly increased the risk of injury or death among vehicle occupants. According to the results, the ET-Plus was 2.86 times more likely to lcause death and 1.36 times more likely to cause a a severe injury than its predecessor, the ET-2000.
Lawsuit Filed, Trinity Named as Defendant
A Trinity competitor and whistleblower brought the allegedly unreported design changes to light when it filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer on behalf of the U.S. government, accusing Trinity of failing to inform the FHA of the alterations prior to selling the product beginning in 2005. On October 20, 2014, Texas jurors found Trinity responsible for defrauding the government and ordered the company to pay $175 million, which could ultimately increase to $525 million under the federal False Claims Act.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a guardrail, you may be entitled to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Mississippi and seek compensation for your injuries to help pay for any lost wages, pain and suffering, or medical expenses.
Questions About a Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit in Mississippi?
Contact Attorney Group for Mississippi if you or a loved one sustained injuries that you believe may have been caused or worsened by the ET-Plus System manufactured by Trinity. You could be eligible to file a Trinity guardrail lawsuit in Mississippi and seek compensation for your injuries. We are currently offering free case evaluations at no out-of-pocket cost to you. If you have a case, we can also refer you to an affiliated attorneys who can assist you throughout the legal process.