The Importance of Guardrails
Although guardrails may not be as common in the plains, prairies, and flatlands of some parts of the state as they are in other parts (or elsewhere in the country), they are very critically important. Guardrails keep vehicles from running out of the road and striking obstacles such as trees, rocks, or utility poles, and they also prevent cars from traveling down embankments or crossing into oncoming traffic.
One of the leading makers of guardrails is Dallas-based Trinity Highway Products. Trinity manufactures both highway guardrails and end treatments, as well as other highway safety products. Trinity claims that its products have been "tested, approved, and accepted as meeting established federal and state safety guidelines." The Attorney General of the State of Virginia (AG) disagrees.
Potential Safety Issues with Trinity Guardrail End Treatments
In a press release issued in December, the Virginia AG stated that he was bringing legal action against Trinity. The basis of his claim was that it allegedly sold his state "thousands of unapproved, improperly tested, and potentially dangerous pieces of highway guardrail equipment." The lawsuit, filed in a state court in Virginia, seeks both civil penalties and replacement costs if the products are shown, through appropriate testing, to require replacement.
The main concern with Trinity's guardrail system involves the end treatment, which is supposed to absorb the impact of a crash. There have been a number of lawsuits across the country that claim that, instead of absorbing impact as it was supposed to do, the end treatment ripped through a car and impaled or otherwise seriously injured drivers and passengers.
Other Litigation Involving Trinity
In October, a so-called "whistleblower" obtained a large verdict against Trinity in federal court. The suit was just the latest installment in a lengthy battle between the whistleblower and Trinity over the modified ET-Plus end terminal. The parties have also met in court concerning patent infringement issues and defamation claims.
The whistleblower, the Virginia AG, and the plaintiffs in several other lawsuits across the country claim that Trinity modified the original end treatment without properly notifying federal or state authorities and that the redesigned end treatment is unsafe.
If You Need to Speak with an Accident Attorney
Traffic crashes can happen in many different ways and can involve both multiple vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. If you need to speak to a qualified Texas litigation lawyer about your car accident, give Godsey Martin a call at 877-GOTHIT or fill out our short online form.
We will be happy to set up an appointment to discuss your case with you. Our first consultation is free, and many cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. With a contingency fee arrangement, you don't pay a legal fee until your case is settled or a judgment is entered in your favor.