After unveiling a change in their design, guardrail end-treatment company, Trinity, has come under scrutiny for their “ET Plus” guardrail. This design change has prompted at least one state to remove and replace the new guardrails from high speed roadways, and some to suspend purchases. A lawsuit filed by the family of Jose Diance is one of the first wrongful death suits against Trinity, claiming that the 23 year old died from grave injuries sustained as a result of a crash involving an ET Plus. Diance, an LAPD officer, died in April 2011 in the early morning, when he crashed into a guardrail at the Van Nuys Blvd exit on the 101 freeway. Reportedly, he had been driving under the speed limit, but under the influence. Coroner and police reports indicate that his truck was impaled by the guardrail, passing through the engine, and striking the man with a force that ejected him from the vehicle. The lawsuit states that the rectangular yellow and black striped end piece was the source of the problem, saying that when operating properly, never gets inside the cabin of the car. The modified ET Plus has the capacity to shoot through the engine block. The design modifications are believed to have been put in place between 2000-2005, and are believed to be, “defective and unreasonably dangerous,” according to the lawsuit, because the end-pieces do not flatten out and absorb the impact as they should. The lawsuit also claims that Trinity never notified the Federal Highway Administration as they should, and that they never conducted required crash tests. A spokesperson for Trinity adamantly disagreed in a statement saying, “It’s the most crash tested end-terminal system on the road today. If it’s installed correctly and if it’s repaired correctly, it will perform as it is designed. The ET Plus has an unbroken chain of eligibility. It has been on the Federal Highway Administration’s approved-for-reimbursement since it was introduced.” However, in October 2014, a Texas jury found Trinity guilty of making fraudulent claims in order to remain eligible for reimbursement.
If you have experienced wrongful death or severe damages and injury due to Trinity’s modified guard rail end-piece, the ET Plus, the law firm of Hodes Milman Liebeck can provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.