The whole point of having guardrails along the road is to ensure the safety of motorists in treacherous areas.
What happens, then, when the guardrails themselves aren't up to the task?
The manufacturer of X-LITE guardrails, which are frequently used on highways, is facing accusations that their product is defective. The defects in the guardrails have ultimately led to multiple unnecessary deaths and injuries in more than one state already.
Overall, the guardrails are being used in 29 states throughout the nation. So far, 11 people have died due to the alleged defects in the guardrails. Lawsuits involving amputations, wrongful deaths and various personal injuries related to car accidents are piling up against the manufacturer.
At issue is the way the ends, or terminals, of the guardrails connect to the rest of the product. The terminals are designed to round out the otherwise dangerously sharp edges of the railing. Those terminals are the points that cars most often hit during an impact with a guardrail if the car either slides off the road or is spun into the rail during an accident.
In theory, the terminal ends should telescope inward on the guardrail's body, partially in order to reduce a collision's force. Telescoping also, however, prevents the terminal ends of the guardrail from piercing the body of a car -- which could be fatal to the occupants in even otherwise mild accidents. In practice, the terminal ends aren't telescoping properly -- which could be due to defective design, defective installation or both.
At least one state, Tennessee, is already undertaking an endeavor to replace all of the guardrails before another accident happens -- but that doesn't help those who have already suffered from injuries. It also leaves miles of defective guardrails still out there on the nation's highway.
Anyone who believes that they or their family member was injured unnecessarily because a guardrail pierced their vehicle after an accident should consider exploring their legal options. When defective products pile additional harm on top of a situation, the companies behind those defective products can often be held liable.
Source: knox news, "More lawsuits accuse guardrail manufacturers of negligence," Travis Dorman, Feb. 13, 2018