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Man believes guardrails not working as intended

Casey Woodruff

Most people on roads throughout the nation are probably aware that following traffic laws will help to prevent motor vehicle accidents. While this may be true, there is also likely an expectation from many people in the Chicago area, and beyond, that steps taken by various entities to keep the roads safe, such as the use of guardrails, will do what they are intended to do and not cause additional harm. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

A man in another state was seriously injured when a guardrail did not respond the way it was meant to. A police report indicates that the 24 year old was traveling around 80 miles per hour when his vehicle left the road. He was pushed into the back seat when guardrail went through the door of his car.

When a safety expert, who at one point made guardrails, investigated both the scene of the accident as well as the car wreck, he ascertained that a failure of the guardrail had something to do with the serious injuries the man suffered. He then filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the maker of the guardrails Trinity Highway Products LLC. Guardrails made by this company are found throughout the nation.

The lawsuit alleges that several years after receiving approval for its guardrail, without notice, the business changed the dimensions of the end terminal designed to absorb energy. Rather than slowing a car as intended, that change resulted in the guard rail turning into an object that could puncture a car. He is seeking to recover damages on behalf of the United States-specifically funds spent on the devices that came from taxpayers.

The 24-year-old man whose auto accident caught the attention of the man behind the whistleblower lawsuit is not the only person who has been injured in crashes involving guardrails. It is possible that he and others in similar situations could file personal injury lawsuits to recover compensation for their injuries.

Source: Insurance Journal, “On the Road: Are America’s Guardrails Dangerous?” Patrick G. Lee, June 13, 2014

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