The ET-Plus System is part of a guardrail that is designed to absorb the shock of a crashing vehicle. In a collision, the guardrail is intended to be pushed through the system and divert the guardrail away from the vehicle to slow down the car. While the ET-Plus was approved in 2000 and underwent several crash tests to ensure its safety, the manufacturer, Trinity Industries, has recently come under fire for allegedly making a key change to the design of the endcap on the guardrail that, according to reports, increases the risk of injury and death. Trinity is accused of neglecting to tell the government about these changes and may face lawsuits throughout the U.S.
Attorney Group for New York is currently offering free case evaluations to individuals who have been injured or lost loved ones in an accident involving a Trinity guardrail. If you would like more information about filing a New York Trinity guardrail lawsuit, contact us today for a no-cost, no obligation consultation.
ET-Plus Allegedly Causes Injury,
Nationwide, lawsuits are currently pending on behalf of people who are alleged to have been injured or killed when the ET-Plus guardrails punctured their vehicles during collisions. News reports describe an incident in New York in which a 20-year-old woman lost her right leg in January 2010 after a guardrail penetrated her driver’s side door. In 2012, a family’s vehicle ran into a guardrail in New York. The rail pushed the wheel well into the backseat and pinned a 2-year-old boy.
In older Trinity guardrails, the chute was reportedly five inches wide, and upon impact, the rail would feed itself through the head and curve to the side away from oncoming traffic. However, in 2005, Trinity reportedly decreased the width of the chute to four inches, potentially increasing the chance that the railing could get stuck and penetrate a car instead of pigtailing away from the vehicle.
According to The New York Times, more than 10 injuries and five deaths have been linked to the guardrails in 14 separate incidents throughout the country. While some vehicle occupants have been impaled, suffered the loss of limbs, or sustained traumatic injuries, others have been killed upon impact.
A study sponsored by The Safety Institute and conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggest that the newly designed ET-Plus models are more likely to cause injury and death than its previous model, the ET-2000..
Currently, 39 states have banned the use of the ET-Plus guardrails, including New York. Although some states are waiting until the results come back from the FHA investigation before taking action, other states have actually begun removing ET-Plus guardrails to reduce the risk of injury or death.
Trinity Named as a Defendant and May Face Additional Lawsuits
As a result of the design change and neglecting to inform the government of the alteration, Trinity was named as a defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that Trinity had a responsibility to inform the Federal Highway Administration of these changes yet failed to do so.
In October 2014, a jury returned a $175 million verdict against Trinity after finding that the company defrauded the government. The amount could increase to $525 million under the treble damages provisions of the federal False Claims. The Federal Highway Administration has requested that Trinity begin additional crash tests to determine whether the ET-Plus System was defectively designed.
Questions About a New York Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit ?
Contact Attorney Group for New York if you feel that you may be eligible to file a New York Trinity guardrail lawsuit. If you or a loved one suffered injuries that you believe were caused by the ET-Plus, system, you may be eligible to file a New York Trinity guardrail lawsuit and recover damages for your injuries. We can review your case with no out-of-pocket expense to you and connect you with an affiliated attorney if you have a case. Contact us for more information.