et-plus-2000-guardrailA whistle blower lawsuit filed in June 2014 alleges that the manufacturer of the ET-Plus Guardrails changed the design so it acts like a spear instead of bending when hit by a car. Now, a growing number of people who were severely injured in horrific accidents are filing lawsuits.

The Pisanchyn Law Firm is accepting Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured by a defective highway guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Immediately contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (800) 444-5309.

ET-Plus Guardrail

Trinity Industries Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers of guardrail end-caps. These devices are designed to absorb an impact of an oncoming vehicle. The ET-Plus Guardrail is a safety feature on the end-cap. In a collision, the guardrail is extruded through the ET-Plus and deflected away from the vehicle. It was crash-tested and approved for use on highways in 2000.

What is the problem?

A whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Trinity quietly re-designed the ET-Plus in 2005, reducing the size of the feeder chute in a way that makes the guardrail more likely to get stuck and impale an oncoming vehicle instead of deflecting away.

The width of the head was reduced from five inches to four inches. The feeder channel height was reduced from 15-3/8 inches to 14-7/8 inches.

According to the civil lawsuit:

“Once throat locked, the energy of the crash is diverted elsewhere usually causing the guardrail to double over on itself or protrude through the crashing vehicle. If the guardrail and head assembly protrude like a spear through the vehicle, the inevitable result is usually death or serious bodily injury to the persons in the vehicle.”

Safety officials with the federal highway system say they were not aware that the design of the ET-Plus was changed until after the lawsuit was filed in March 2012. It is now pending in federal court in Texas.

Trinity has filed a defamation lawsuit against the whistleblower, Josh Harman, and says the lawsuit was filed out of spite. Harman was involved in a patent dispute with Trinity that cost him $12 million and sent his guardrail-installing business into bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why Should You Worry?

The re-designed ET-Plus Guardrail was not crash-tested or approved by the Federal Highway Administration, so it is unknown if it performs as well as the original design. Trinity insists it is safe and continues to sell the ET-Plus in all 50 states.

Nevada has removed the ET-Plus from the list of approved products and is no longer installing them, but most states have taken no action. In California, the ET-Plus is still on major highways.

Guardrail Injury Lawsuits

Nationwide, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of numerous drivers who were injured or died when guardrails punctured their cars in an accident. Some of these injuries were described by ABC15:

  • In Tennessee, a 39 year-old woman who crashed into an end terminal died from severe organ damage and bleeding after the guardrail punctured her car and went through her torso.
  • In New York, a 20 year-old woman lost her right leg after a guardrail penetrated her driver’s side door in an accident in January 2010.
  • In Florida, a 20 year-old man was a passenger in a vehicle that swerved off the road. He had to have his left leg amputated below the knee after a guardrail punctured his vehicle.

 

Do You have a Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail Lawsuit?

The Pisanchyn Law Firm is currently accepting Trinity ET-Plus Guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was injured by a defective highway guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. We never charge a fee until we win your case. Contact us by filling out the form to the right or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (800) 444-5309.

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