Woman Nearly Dead After Faulty Guardrail Crumpled in Car Accident
A couple in Easley, SC believes that Trinity faulty guardrails are the cause of their daughter’s catastrophic injuries after a car accident brought her close to death.
On Saturday morning, March 14th, the 20-year-old woman was driving down an Anderson County road to work when she hydroplaned and hit the guardrail. Normally, guardrails are designed to deflect the vehicle and prevent cars in car accidents from sliding down embankments or into other vehicles. However, this guardrail sliced through the car – a too-common problem involving Trinity guardrails, according to plaintiffs who recently won personal injury and wrongful death cases against the manufacturer.
On October 20th, 2014, Trinity Industries was slapped with a $175 million verdict by a Texas court, which ruled against the guardrail manufacturer in a whistleblower lawsuit brought forward by Joshua Harman. Harman accused the company of changing the design of their guardrails without informing the Federal Highway Administration, which is responsible for checking the safety of such products. Trinity then sold the modified guardrails, beginning in 2005, to states that received federal funding. The changes to the design of the guardrails made them defective – rather than stopping cars in a crash, the steel rails could bend and spear drivers or passengers.
At least 14 personal injury lawsuits blame the guardrails for severe car crash injuries, including 5 deaths.
Like many US states, South Carolina purchased guardrails from Trinity over the years, but the state did not keep records on exactly where the guardrails were placed. There is an untold number of faulty guardrails in SC now, according to the Department of Transportation, and many SC drivers could become victims after a car accident.
Doug and Phyllis Simmons said they believe their 20-year-old daughter, who suffers a concussion, major bruising, and intense pain after her car accident, was one of the faulty guardrails victims.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to somebody else’s child. If [the end terminals] are mandatory, why was that not on there? Because it could’ve just been a scratch down the car, but it turned into a near fatality,” said Phyllis Simmons.
SCDOT spokespeople say there should be a black and yellow reflective patch on the guardrail, and Simmons believes that that safety feature was not present. Investigators with SCDOT will look into the accident, and they stated they plan to work with Highway Patrol to determine if the guardrail is in fact one of the notoriously faulty Trinity guardrails.
Defective Products Like Trinity Guardrails Can Cause Personal Injury or Death
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident that was made worse by a faulty guardrail that impaled the vehicle or crumpled rather than protecting the car, you may have been the victim of a faulty Trinity guardrail. The South Carolina defective products attorneys at the Strom Law Firm are investigating the problem involving Trinity guardrails and can help you with a personal injury or wrongful death case against the company. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the details of the car accident, so contact us today. 803.252.4800