A crash involving a 24-year-old man became involved in a federal whistleblower suit against guardrail manufacture Trinity Industries Inc. According to reports, the driver drove his Nissan into a guardrail on a North Carolina highway at roughly 80 miles per hour. The guardrail then reportedly pierced through his car and caused him to suffer serious injuries.
While the police decided that the injuries occurred due to reckless driving, the 45-year-old man who brought the whistleblower case to court believes otherwise. He believes that the company changed the design of the guardrail without telling the government. He claims that, instead of the end terminal of the guardrail giving way and absorbing an impact with a car, it locks up and fails to absorb the car’s energy or slow it down.
According to Trinity, it has met all regulatory standards and has confidence in its end terminals. However, it is being reported that other groups have filed suit and that the state of Nevada has stopped installing Trinity’s terminals. If the suit is successful, it is estimated that the company could pay up to $1 billion in damages. Despite challenges by Trinity, the trial is expected to begin in July of 2014.
If a driver is injured due to defective products, that driver may be entitled to compensation to pay for medical bills as well as pain and suffering. In a case where a subsidiary to a company is named in a suit, its parent company may also be named in the suit as it may have the resources necessary to pay out any claims. However, it may be best to talk to a personal injury attorney who can help an injured driver determine the appropriate parties to take action against in the hopes of either settling the case or winning an award at trial.
Source: Clinton Herald, “Deadly guardrails spearing drivers is whistleblower’s crusade”, Patrick G. Lee, June 15, 2014