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A case of dangerous highway guardrails

Highway guardrails are supposed to keep us safe, right? A June 19, 2014 Bloomberg Businessweek article relates the story of a lawsuit that may prove that the end terminals of guardrails are, in fact, dangerous. One man, Joshua Harman’s company, went through a bankruptcy, laying off most of its workers after Trinity Highway Products sued the company for allegedly violating patents. Now, Harman is a “self-described safety advocate.” He has visited 200 crash highway crash sites finding what he feels is conclusive evidence that Trinity made a defective and unsafe product. The end terminal of guardrails, the ET-Plus, has been in use since 2000 nationwide. But, between 2002 and 2005, Trinity modified their design and did not tell federal authorities. Harman claims that this modified design is ineffective and deadly. Instead of bending and slowing cars that hit the guardrails, it snaps and acts like a “spear” to automobiles and their passengers.

Now, Harman has gained federal “whistleblower” status and is suing Trinity for the changes they claim merely cosmetic. The newer guardrails are thinner and have a different interior design than the original ones. Harman says the new guardrails are cheaper to produce and also have to be replaced more often. In a workplace lawsuit, a whistleblower is someone who exposes something allegedly wrong with a company and can bring forth a lawsuit, but a federal whistleblower gains the ability to sue someone or a company on behalf of US taxpayers. Trinity claims that these ET-Plus guardrail terminals were crash tested, were not sold until they were crash tested and that the Federal Highway Administration gave them a “letter of acceptance” for the product. Trinity, however, did not tell the government when they performed crash tests in 2005 of some of the changes that have now cost lives according to the article.

One lawyer who has visited crash scenes with Harman has brought forth nine personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against Trinity. Both sides—Trinity and Harman—have been preparing for trial, which, barring delays, should be taking place now.

If you or a loved once has been injured to a defective product or have been impacted by a recall, then you should contact a lawyer right away. A lawyer can explain your options of legal recourse against the manufacturer or distributor of dangerous and defective products. Jayson Lutzky is a personal injury and accident lawyer who has an office in the Bronx, New York. He has been practicing law for the past 31 years and has recovered millions for his clients. To set up a free in person consultation, call 718-329-9500 or call toll-free at 1-800-660-5299. If you have been seriously hurt, then hospital or home visits are available. Visit Mr. Lutzky on the web at www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.

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