A major guardrail supplier has been found guilty of defrauding the federal government by selling systems that can malfunction during crashes and slice through cars, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
In 2005, Trinity Industries made changes to its rail head – the flat piece of steel at the front of the system – without telling the Federal Highway Administration, a change blamed in at least 14 other lawsuits for five deaths and more injuries.
The guardrail system works by collapsing when hit head-on, absorbing the impact of a vehicle and guiding the railing out of its path. The redesigned Trinity product can cause the system’s rail head to jam instead of sliding along the rail, which can pierce an oncoming vehicle like a harpoon, endangering occupants.
The company sold the guardrails to state governments that, in turn, received federal reimbursement. While states are ultimately responsible for their highway equipment, the Federal Highway Administration plays a crucial role, providing guidance on which products are eligible for federal reimbursement dollars.
The changes were not disclosed by Trinity to the Federal Highway Administration for seven years, despite requirements that any such changes be reported immediately. A Texas jury awarded $175 million that will, under federal law, be tripled to $525 million. Read the full details here:
Guardrail Maker Trinity Industries Liable for Fraud in Texas
A defective guardrail has been sold for many years to various states. This guardrail does not operate to protect individuals who are in an accident; in fact, it often causes more harm by operating as a sword, cutting through the car and impaling occupants.
If you or a loved one believe you have a medical malpractice, birth injury, nursing home abuse & neglect, trucking accident, wrongful death, or personal injury case, please contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free case evaluation. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.