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Guardrail Accidents

Guardrail Accidents in Virginia

Guardrails along our nations’ highways and roadways are becoming more common and prevalent. The purpose of guardrails is to lessen the dangers a motorist may encounter when leaving the traveled portion of the roadway and thereby serve a worthwhile purpose.

However, the design and performance of certain types of guardrail terminal end (the beginning of a guardrail) pose a significant danger to a motorist and passengers if struck. Manufacturers of guardrails include Trinity Industries and Lindsay Transportation Solutions.

Typically, guardrails protect drivers from hazards on the side of the road that cannot feasibly be removed, such as trees, utility poles, or steep slopes and cliffs. In other words, guardrails are put in place when the risk of injury or death is more likely than if they were not there.

Guardrails are designed to function in different ways. For example,

  • The ET-Plus, a guardrail manufactured by Trinity Industries, is designed to spool when the end terminal is struck and thereby absorb energy and bring the striking vehicle to a controlled stop.
  • The X-Lite, manufactured by Lindsay Transportation Solutions, is designed to telescope, with each section of guardrail collapsing upon itself when the end terminal is struck, which, similar to the Trinity Industries ET-Plus, it is intended to absorb energy of the striking vehicle and bring the vehicle to a controlled stop

We are currently representing the family of a young woman killed when her car struck the terminal end of a Lindsay X-Lite guardrail. Rather than telescoping, as intended and marketed, the guardrail penetrated the passenger compartment of the car, causing fatal injuries.

Unfortunately, there have been multiple instances where Lindsay X-Lites have failed to telescope, causing severe injuries or death and there are several cases pending around the country in addition to the case we are handling. To best serve our clients, we monitor developments in those cases as we move towards trial in our case.

The Lindsay X-Lite is not the only guardrail terminal end that fails to perform as intended. The Trinity Highway Products ET-Plus, has also been the subject of multiple lawsuits involving serious injuries and death due to the guardrail not performing as designed and marketed. Importantly, many crashes involving guardrail end terminals are single vehicle crashes in which the initial impulse may be to blame the driver.

Do not let such thinking stop you from speaking with an attorney knowledgeable of guardrail cases and design as manufacturers such as Lindsay and Trinity expect the end terminal to be struck and the failure of the guardrails to perform as intended and marketed makes the manufacturers legally responsible for the injuries or deaths caused by the failures.

To see a video of Tom Curcio discussing the failure of a Lindsay X-Lite, click here.

As of March 2018, 13 states have pledged to remove Lindsay X-Lite end terminals, including Maryland, which has officially begun the process of replacing the nearly 990 X-Lites from area roads. Unfortunately, the process could take up to two full years to complete, meaning that public safety is still at risk—potentially resulting in more needless injuries and death.

In September of 2016 Virginia removed X-Lite guardrails from the DOT approved products list. As of September of 2018, there were over 500 X-Lites installed along Virginia roadways. VDOT planned to remove 280 of them by 2019, and remove more in 2019 only on roads with a speed limit above 55 Mph.

If you or a loved one was injured or you lost someone due to a crash involving a Lindsay X-Lite guardrail, please schedule an appointment with our skilled legal team, call Curcio Law at 703-836-3366 or contact our Alexandria office online.

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