Guardrail Injury Attorneys
Injured in a Guardrail Accident? Call Us at (888) 493-1629!
In June 2014, a whistleblower at Trinity Guardrail revealed that their line of guardrails would impale cars if they were struck head-on. They were initially designed to bend on impact like an accordion, but due to an unapproved design change, the guardrails turned into enormous spears instead—causing serious or fatal injuries to accident victims. Two wrongful deaths occurred within nine months.
Now, Trinity and other guardrail companies are facing one of the strongest personal injury law firms in the nation. Our legal team is holding them accountable for the mayhem and tragic deaths they’ve caused to save a few pennies.
Our team has gone toe-to-toe with the titans of different industries, winning billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients throughout the years. The records we’ve set nationwide remain unbroken. Companies like Trinity fear us for a good reason. Once we know an injustice has occurred, we won’t stop until our clients are set for life. All we need now is you. If you or a loved one’s car was impaled after striking a guardrail, speak with our firm as soon as possible. You deserve to have your story heard—even more importantly, you deserve to have your medical costs paid for by the company who hurt you.
Guardrail Accidents: What Happened & Why
When designed correctly, highway guardrails help reduce the impact of car accidents. They keep cars on the highway from crashing, but they also can slow cars down safely if hit head-on. When a motorist strikes the head of the guardrail, the whole rail is designed to fold like an accordion. Unfortunately, the manufacturer behind thousands of miles of guardrails nationwide, Trinity Industries, shortened the design of their product from five inches to four inches to save them around $50,000 a year.
The minor adjustment ended up having a horrifying effect: it allowed the head to lock on impact, turning the guardrail into an enormous spear. Within nine months, at least two people were killed when an ET-Plus guardrail pierced their vehicle. Dozens of lawsuits have been brought against the industry giant, beginning with a $663 million judgment from the government under the False Claims Act.
Plaintiffs are seeking damages against Trinity for their unsafe, fraudulent product. For answers regarding your case, read the information below. If you believe that your car accident was made worse due to the guardrail, speak with our attorneys.
Found Guilty of Lying to the Federal Government
The False Claims Act is a law that allows whistleblowers to sue companies for defrauding the U.S. government. A competitor named Joshua Harman realized that Trinity changed the design of their guardrail product without notifying the Federal Highway Administration—but continued to advertise their product as approved by the FHA. Their secret design change became the center of the lawsuit.
By October 2016 (two years after the False Claims Act verdict), Trinity was actively fighting over two dozen lawsuits. However, Trinity continues to deny that they are responsible for the injuries caused by their product. They’ve hired an army of the best corporate litigators in the country in their bid to protect their interests, insisting that their guardrails aren’t created to prevent tragedies from occurring.
That's when Arnold & Itkin decided to step in.
Damages You May Claim in a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit
If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for damages such as the following:
- Medical Expenses: Associated injuries are severe—meaning treatment costs are even more so.
- Lost Income: Injuries also incur indirect costs (i.e., you were bedridden, in the hospital, etc.), rendering you unable to work and earn a living.
- Property Damage: These accidents total virtually any vehicle involved. The resulting accident investigation may even hold you responsible for the cost of replacing the rail. A claim could ensure you aren't on the hook for the property damage caused by the accident.
- Pain & Suffering: Trauma leaves us emotionally and psychologically scarred. The pain of a catastrophic injury can linger for long after we've left the hospital. For both, the court allows victims to seek damages that don't have a monetary value—but are very real nonetheless.
- Wrongful Death: The death of a loved one incurs far more costs than we realize—from medical care prior to death, to the cost of the funeral, to the loss of their companionship and support. Wrongful death claims can pursue compensation for all of these things and more.
Guardrail Accident FAQ
Why Did the Guardrail Not Work and/or Impale My Vehicle?
Sometime after 2000, Trinity began changing the design of their ET-Plus guardrail model without notifying the FHA, which approved their design. In the whistleblower lawsuit, the claimant alleged the original design featured a slot that was wider and longer than the slot in later models. This slot is what allows the terminal to slide back on the rail and absorb impact safely. He claims the slot was shortened and narrowed to save money on material and make it harder for guardrail terminals to be re-used after an accident—forcing local governments to purchase more. He also claims the shorter, narrower slot had an unintended effect: it locks up the guardrail plate, turning the rail into an enormous, deadly spear.
Did Trinity Know This Would Happen?
There is potential evidence that Trinity may have known about the effect of the design changes. Between 2005 and 2006, Trinity filmed five crash tests of the ET-Plus that were never shown to the federal government until the lawsuit. In the videos, the guardrail fails to absorb the force of the crash—twice by causing the car to roll and once by impaling the vehicle. Trinity claims they were testing an experimental model of the ET-Plus that never went into production. But, crash test videos from 2005 to 2010 were publicized when the guardrail functioned as designed.
Will Trinity Pay for the Damages Caused by Their Design?
Trinity has publicly stated they don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong. In addition, they intend to fight every lawsuit and have hired dozens of top litigators from firms around the country. If you want Trinity to pay for what they’ve done, you’ll need to hold them to it in court.
If Trinity Was Found Guilty, Why Do I Need to Sue Them?
Trinity Industries was found guilty of defrauding the U.S. government, and it was proven in court that they made unauthorized changes to their design—changes that may have made guardrail terminals potentially deadly. However, to hold Trinity responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff has to bring their individual claim (with unique damages and circumstances) against Trinity. In other words, Trinity is guilty under the False Claims Act, but they can’t be found guilty of harming you specifically—unless you sue them. The False Claims Act verdict can be used as evidence, but our lawyers have to review your case before we can determine if you have a lawsuit.
How Was the Guardrail Supposed to Work?
The first guardrail terminal (the ET-2000) was designed to act as a highway airbag. The front-facing steel plate is attached to a ribbon of steel, cushioning the vehicle’s impact while the steel ribbon bends and folds like an accordion. When it works, it’s a safe solution. When cars strike the guardrail, it slows them down, limits the damage caused, and creates a safe way for the energy of an impact to be dispersed throughout the railing. The first one was designed by Texas A&M University, funded by the Texas DOT, and developed by Syro Steel Co. in 1989. Trinity bought Syro Steel Co. in 1992.
What Is Trinity Industries?
Trinity Industries was founded over 80 years ago. Since then, they’ve grown into a $6.4 billion company, producing rail cars, guardrails, inland barges, energy equipment, and other products involving infrastructure. Their decision to alter their design to save on costs reportedly only saved them .0008% of their annual revenue. The firm is not only planning to fight every lawsuit being brought against them, but they’ve also appealed the False Claims verdict—saying the case should have been dismissed.
Helping Victims of Guardrail Accidents Recover
Despite being found guilty of defrauding the U.S. government and lying about the safety of their guardrail design, Trinity Industries insists that they did nothing wrong—and intend to fight every lawsuit brought against them. It's a bold move. Most companies facing billions in lawsuits will attempt to settle in one massive amount to limit their liability. However, Arnold & Itkin LLP isn't surprised.
Our attorneys have seen what happens when companies think they're too big for regular people to hold accountable. We've watched industry giants treat the victims of their negligence like minor annoyances—throwing laughable settlements their way or tying them up in court until they have no choice but to settle for pennies on the dollar.
We got tired of watching it. Arnold & Itkin was founded more than a decade ago to level the playing field between the world's biggest companies and the people they've hurt. Since then, we've developed an aggressive and thorough case approach that puts litigators and corporations back on their heels, forcing them to admit their wrongdoing and pay our clients every dollar they need to recover.
We've helped thousands of individuals and family members reclaim their lives from financial instability, grief, and fear.
Record-Breaking Verdicts & Settlements Nationwide
At our firm, we have e developed a case history that established us as an industry leader in personal injury law. When a young mother was left permanently brain-damaged in an ambulance accident, we won her a verdict of $117 million—the largest single-plaintiff award in Louisiana history. When the families of sailors who went down with their ship turned to us, we relentlessly pursued justice until they each received massive settlements—ones that were much larger than the settlements won by other law firms for the same case. When a young man was left deformed by a harmful drug, we won a $76 million verdict for him against Johnson & Johnson—the largest verdict ever awarded in a Risperdal lawsuit.
The billions we've won have helped our clients rebuild their lives after serious injuries or the loss of a loved ones. It's our duty to help our clients get the care, treatment, rehabilitation, and financial security they need. It's also our duty to make a safer world for our neighbors by holding wrongdoing accountable, by showing companies that they need to keep our people safe or face the consequences. For the world's largest companies, the worst consequence they ever faced was courtesy of Arnold & Itkin. Trinity Industries knows our name and what we can do—and that's what you want if you're facing them in court.
Helping Victims Claim Medical Care, Lost Wages & More
Arnold & Itkin LLP is representing clients for injuries caused by defective guardrails. Our firm has heard stories from people nationwide who were maimed or lost loved ones because a guardrail impaled their vehicle or magnified the impact of their collision—the opposite of its original purpose. Our guardrail accident lawyers are determined to hold Trinity Industries accountable for the damage they've caused people nationwide, getting our clients the money they need to get treatment and rebuild their lives.
We’ve faced the litigators Trinity is hiding behind—we know their strategies, the plays they run, and the arguments they use. Our firm has defeated many of those litigators in court before because our team prepares cases with cutting-edge technology, world-renowned experts, and thorough investigation.
Our case preparation process is well-known among our peers and opponents, allowing us to command some of the largest results in the nation. Whatever happened to you, Arnold & Itkin can get you answers, provide for your medical care, and help you seek the fastest and most effective route to justice. We want to hear your story to help you fight back. Call (888) 493-1629 to speak with us!
Arnold & Itkin looks forward to holding them accountable and proving wrongdoing on their part. Call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online for a free initial counsel on your case.