Guardrails are intended to reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an accident and to prevent vehicles from leaving the roadway. Given the critical role that guardrails play in road safety, a minor defect in their design or manufacturing could have devastating consequences for drivers and passengers. If a person suffers an injury or dies due to a guardrail defect, that individual (or his or her surviving loved ones) may have grounds for a claim against the guardrail manufacturer.
Whether or not you have grounds for a claim depends on several factors including:
- Whether the Defect Was the Proximate Cause of the Injury or Death
Even if a defective guardrail was in fact involved in the accident, the manufacturer wouldn’t be liable unless the defect contributed to the resulting damages. For example, let’s assume a driver hydroplanes on a puddle, loses control, and the vehicle flips. The vehicle then has a minor impact with a guardrail that contains a manufacturing defect.
In this scenario, it’s unlikely that anyone injured in the crash would have grounds for a claim against the guardrail manufacturer since the defect was not the proximate cause of the accident or any subsequent injury or death. However, if a driver collides with a guardrail and the vehicle is speared by metal rails due to a defect, and this results in death or injury to a vehicle occupant, the guardrail manufacturer may be liable for damages.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Trinity Industries over an alleged design defect in its ET-Plus guardrail. Reports allege that a metal component of the end terminals was reduced by 1 inch to save the company money, but this increased the risk of injury or death when vehicles crash into the guardrail. If you or a member of your family was injured in an accident involving an ET-Plus guardrail, you might have grounds for a claim against Trinity Industries.
- Your Relationship with the Victim (in the case of wrongful death)
In most states, only certain family members of the deceased or a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim and/or survival action. If your loved one was killed due to a defective guardrail, whether or not you have grounds for a claim or would be a beneficiary of any recovered damages will depend on your relationship to the deceased.
- Whether Damages Were Incurred
If neither you nor a member of your family suffered damages as a result of the accident, you wouldn’t have grounds for a claim against the guardrail manufacturer. For example, let’s assume you were a passenger in a vehicle that crashed into a guardrail. Due to a defect, the metal rails of the guardrail speared into the vehicle, resulting in serious injury to the driver; however, you walked away from the scene without injury. In this scenario, it’s unlikely that you would have grounds for a claim since no damages were incurred.
Speak with a Guardrail Injury Attorney Today: Call 877-544-5323
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call. At The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, PC, we offer strategic and aggressive representation to those who have lost loved ones or suffered injuries in guardrail accidents. To schedule a free case review with a guardrail injury lawyer, call or text 877-544-5323, or send us a message on our Contact Page.