The federal government sued Trinity Industries claiming that it fraudulently and secretly modified its guardrails which posed an added threat to drivers. The jury returned a verdict of $175 million.
The rail head is a flat piece of steel at the front of the guardrail that, on impact, is supposed to glide along the rail and push the metal safely out of the way. Years ago, Trinity narrowed the channel behind the head from five to four inches without notifying the Federal Highway Administration. The shortening of the rail head is suspected to make them jam and fall off on impact, causing the rail to pierce a vehicle. People have become impaled by the metal.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has recently filed suit against Trinity as well. Trinity sold these guardrails to more than 30 other states, which have since banned the guardrail. Counties in Illinois have also filed suit. More than a dozen other private lawsuits have been filed for the deaths of five people and more injuries. It is estimated that there are more than 600,000 such guardrails across the U.S.
The Federal Highway Administration is now demanding that the guardrails be retested.
Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP represents plaintiffs who have been injured by defective guardrails. Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 983-3000 or [email protected]