The case was brought by Josh Harman, a competitor of the company, who discovered in 2005 that Trinity made changes to its rail head, the flat piece of steel at the front of the system, without notifying the Federal Highway Administration. Mr. Harman discovered the changes during litigation in 2011 and filed the suit on behalf of the government, which makes him a whistle-blower. The Texas jury awarded $175 million, which under federal law will be tripled to $525 million and will be split between the United States Treasury and Mr. Harman.
In a car accident, the guardrail system works by collapsing when hit, absorbing the impact of a vehicle. The rail head is supposed to slide along the rail itself, pushing it to the side. But the redesigned Trinity product narrowed the channel behind the head, which can cause it to jam rather than slide along the rail. Some state officials have said when this occurs, the rail can pierce an oncoming vehicle like a harpoon, endangering the occupants of a vehicle involved in an auto accident.
Trinity is a major supplier of guardrails nationwide. There are at least 14 other lawsuits blaming the guardrails for five deaths and more injuries. Three states – Missouri, Massachusetts, and Virginia – have banned further purchase of the product.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling personal injury cases involving serious injuries resulting defective products and motor vehicle accidents. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you have been injured by a defective product, or have endured any other type of personal injury, contact the personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More