Trinity and X-LITE Guardrail Lawsuits
Guardrails are present on almost every freeway in the nation. With thousands of miles of highways running throughout the Pittsburgh area, guardrails are ubiquitous throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the United States.
These guardrails are designed to protect drivers and passengers who travel along Pennsylvania’s roadways and keep them away from more hazardous areas like cliffs or other roadways.
Unfortunately, there are two manufacturers of guardrails, Trinity and X-LITE, that have made the news in recent years because of the harm that these companies’ defective guardrail end treatments can inflict on drivers who have crashed into them.
The Trinity ET-Plus end treatments, which dot the highways of Pittsburgh and the rest of Pennsylvania, have caused injuries to a number of drivers and passengers over the past few years. According to one Trinity guardrail lawsuit, a child was pinned to the roof of the car in which she was a passenger when it hit the Trinity guardrail and overturned. The child suffered brain trauma and pelvic injuries.
Likewise, end treatments made by X-LITE Guardrails, have also been the cause of injuries to drivers and passengers. According to a recent report in USA Today, the state of Tennessee is spending approximately $3.6 million to replace X-LITE guardrail ends throughout the state.
The Pittsburgh lawyers at Chaffin Luhana are currently investigating cases in which Trinity and X-LITE guardrail ends have caused injuries and deaths.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a faulty guardrail end treatment, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Contact us today or call us 24/7 at 1-888-316-2311.
What is a Guardrail End Treatment?
Guardrails are metal rails that border roads, providing a divide between the roadway and a more dangerous area.
These rails keep vehicles from greater peril from impact involving boulders, trees, utility poles, steep cliffs, waterways or oncoming traffic.
If a vehicle impacts a guardrail face, the rail, combined with wooden or plastic posts, is designed to keep the vehicle on the roadway.
The ends of these guardrails, however, are essentially thin sheaths, rather knife-like, that can potentially cut a vehicle in half or spear through it, if impacted head-on.
In order to keep drivers and passengers safe from these dangerous end-pieces, guardrail end treatments have been developed to divert guardrails off to the side when a vehicle impacts it at an endpoint. Unfortunately, some of these “end treatments” are defective and have been the cause of numerous deaths throughout the U.S.
While guardrails are designed for safety and have prevented many serious accidents, it’s been determined that some guardrail end systems are now responsible for increasing significant injuries and even deaths during a vehicle crash.
Brands of Guardrails Associated with Recalls or Injuries
There are a number of different types of guardrails and end treatments alongside our roads today. As it turns out, some of them may be doing more harm than good. These types of guardrails include:
The ET-Plus guardrail is designed and distributed by Trinity Industries. This type of end treatment diverts the guardrail at an angle to prevent it from puncturing a vehicle at impact. The ET-Plus was given the green light for use on U.S. roadways and has been widely used. However, Trinity redesigned the ET-Plus without notifying the government and without proper testing. The redesigned ET-Plus has been alleged to cause a higher degree of risk of injuries and fatalities.
The X-LITE guardrail end treatment is distributed by Lindsay Corporation. Like the ET-Plus, the X-LITE system is a distributive system that redistributes the force of the impact, but this treatment is designed to telescope the guardrail upon impact, allowing it to collapse on itself to keep the guardrail beam from puncturing vehicles.
Types of Injuries Associated with Guardrails
The most common types of injuries associated with guardrail accidents include:
- Limb amputations
- Brain trauma
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal injury
- Eye injury
Real-Life Examples of Guardrail Accident Injuries
In May 2009, a young woman swerved to avoid hitting a motorcyclist. Her vehicle crashed into a Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end treatment. The treatment did not work as intended, resulting in the amputation of her right leg.
In December 2008, a 37-year-old woman missed a curve and crashed into a Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end treatment. The guardrail came through her vehicle and impaled her, causing multiple fractures and internal organ damage. She died several hours later.
In September 2012, a woman in Texas hit a Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end treatment after losing consciousness. The guardrail pierced the vehicle through the right floorboard and continued into the passenger compartment, impaling her. She is now a paraplegic.
In June 2014, a vehicle impacted a Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end treatment. The guardrail came through the vehicle, impaling the driver and her passenger, causing serious injuries to both victims’ lower extremities.
In addition to physical injuries, these types of traumatic accidents can cause psychological and emotional anguish that can last for the rest of a person’s and their family’s lives.
After being involved in a car accident involving a guardrail, the aftermath can also impact victims financially, causing increased medical bills, loss of income, and additional expenses related to recovery.
Defective Guardrail Lawsuits
Both the Trinity ET-Plus and the Lindsey X-LITE guardrail systems have been named in lawsuits in recent years. When Trinity’s ET-Plus guardrails failed government safety tests, the company found itself defending a whistleblower lawsuit for defrauding the government.
While that case was reversed on appeal due to a legal technicality in the fraud claim, that does not mean that the guardrail is not defective or actionable under a products liability theory under state law against Trinity.
A North Carolina man is pursuing a lawsuit against Trinity Industries, alleging that the guardrail treatments are unreasonably dangerous. His claim resulted from an accident in which his vehicle came into contact with a Trinity ET-Plus end treatment, causing the amputation of both of his legs.
Two families have initiated lawsuits against Lindsey because the X-LITE guardrail end treatment failed to work as intended, resulting in the deaths of a 21-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man in 2017.
Despite multiple lawsuits against Lindsay alleging defects in the design of the X-LITE guardrail end treatments, Lindsay emphatically denies such defects. Unwilling to take any more chances, the state of Tennessee has vowed to remove the X-LITE end treatments from its roadways.
In February 2018, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation announced it will suspend installation of the X-LITE guardrail end treatments altogether.
Both Trinity and Lindsey are defending multiple lawsuits over the dangerous design of their guardrail and treatments in Pennsylvania and across the country. There may be other victims who have been injured or killed in accidents involving either the ET-Plus or X-LITE guardrail end treatments. These victims deserve to be compensated for injuries caused by defective guardrails.
The experienced attorneys at Chaffin Luhana LLP regularly handle complex product liability, trucking, and auto accident cases, and are actively investigating potential Trinity ET-Plus and Lindsay X-LITE lawsuits. Consumers in the Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley areas who have been injured or killed by these guardrails may be eligible to recover damages in a guardrail lawsuit. Call today for a free case evaluation at 1-888-316-2311.