Trinity Industries, Inc. is an industrial company that has had many successes in their field over the years. They are responsible for the manufacturing of several transportation-related products, including rail cars, portable storage containers, road aggregate, and even barges. They are also responsible for the guardrails that are currently under attack throughout several states in this country. The lawsuits are close to home, with both Georgia and Virginia recently joining the efforts to stop the installation of ET-Plus guard rails.
Virginia announced earlier this month that they are giving Trinity Industries until this week to provide solid evidence that the guardrails are meeting safety guidelines, or else they intend to remove and replace them all. This wasn’t the first problem that the company has faced in regards to the product. A whistle-blower lawsuit was filed in Texas, originally, with that trial first hitting the courts in mid-October. By the time the Virginia announcement had gone public, several other states had made the official decision to stop using the guardrails as well. You won’t be seeing any new ET-Plus guardrails in St. Petersburg. Then, shortly after news of Virginia’s decision, Georgia officials announced that it will no longer install ET-Plus, at least until crash-testing proves that they are capable of doing what is advertised.
Why has all of this negative attention been turned on Trinity Industries? The guardrails have been involved in numerous accidents – many of which ended in fatalities. Georgia’s press release came shortly after the announcement of two fatal crashes within the state – both involving the questionable guard rails.
According to WSB-TV 2, out of Atlanta, one of the crashes in question involved a Crown Victoria striking the end of the guardrail, which pierced the side of the vehicle and smashed into the passenger’s head. The victim, Jeff Warford, Jr., was 31 years old, riding with a friend, and died instantly on impact.
This was just one of the devastating crashes that has involved the guardrails, pointing to a serious issue. Furthermore, the courts have already ruled that Trinity Industries has robbed the United States of approximately $175 million due to secretive, last minute changes to the proposed guardrails, which made them smaller, weaker, and less expensive to manufacture. Among the evidence of foul play that arose during the initial investigation were several images of the President of Trinity Industries, alongside Texas A&M researchers at an event funded by Trinity. Texas A&M performed two crash tests and reported the data in 2005 and 2010, during which time these photos would have been taken. That, of course, left several people in an uproar about the obvious conflict of interest.
Some analysts believe that the final judgment in this case could be as high as $1 billion. Very likely it will not be the only lawsuit that the company will face as a result of the immoral business decision. There are many families grieving the loss of loved ones, like Warford, who will undoubtedly be seeking damages for the losses that they suffered.
While Florida has officially made the decision to stop buying ET-Plus, there could still be guardrails by this manufacturer currently in use in cities like Saint Petersburg. If an accident leads to serious injury or fatality, and the guardrails were thought to add to the problem, a personal injury attorney can help file a case against the company. Though they can’t bring back a lost loved one, personal injury lawsuits can help you collect the money you need to cover related expenses and income losses.