Potentially Thousands of Dangerous Trinity Guardrails in SC

Investigation Uncovers Possibly Thousands of Faulty Trinity Guardrails on SC’s Highways

guardrailsA special investigation conducted by WIS in South Carolina found that there could be thousands of faulty, recalled Trinity guardrails on the state’s highways, and the SC Department of Transportation has no way to know which guardrails are dangerous.

“Since January of 2010, we’ve installed over 5,000 end terminals,” SCDOT chief engineer of operations Leland Colvin said. However, SCDOT reported that they do not know for sure how many of the faulty guardrails are out there

On October 20th, 2014, Trinity Industries was slapped with a $175 million verdict by a Texas court, which ruled against the guardrail manufacturer in a whistleblower lawsuit brought forward by Joshua Harman. Harman accused the company of changing the design of their guardrails without informing the Federal Highway Administration, which is responsible for checking the safety of such products. Trinity then sold the modified guardrails, beginning in 2005, to states that received federal funding.

However, the changes to the design of the guardrails made them defective products – rather than stopping cars in a crash, the steel rails could bend and spear drivers or passengers. At least 14 personal injury lawsuits blame the guardrails for severe car crash injuries, including 5 deaths.

South Carolina purchased guardrails from Trinity over the years, and some serious car accident injuries and fatalities in the state have been associated with the faulty guardrails. One personal injury victim is Chris Gardner, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan who was involved in a car accident near Irmo, SC in 2013. He said he hit a guardrail, which should have stopped his vehicle, and instead “harpooned” it.

“Maybe, uh, 12 more inches to the right, and it would have taken me out for sure,” Gardner said. “If I’d been driving with my arm on the console, it would have took it off.”

“The install costs range, from about $1,600 to about $2,200 per location,” Colvin said. “Do that over 5,000, potentially 5,000 locations, and it starts adding up very quickly.”

And that money comes out of South Carolina’s tax dollars. Virginia has already joined the whistleblower lawsuit against Trinity, alleging that the company fraudulently took the state’s money and supplied a defective product.

In the meantime, the Federal Highway Administration finished the last of eight crash tests with the Trinity guardrails, and says it will report its findings on the product’s safety in the next few weeks.

Defective Products Can Lead to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

The unexpected loss of a loved is a very painful experience.  It leaves family members with sudden expenses such as hospital bills, and funeral costs. If the loss is due to an individual or business’s negligence, the loss can feel even worse. Family members feel like they have nowhere to turn for solace or closure.

While you focus on getting through this tough experience, we will focus on protecting your rights. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as the result of a defective product, DUI, negligent business, or car accident, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800

Leave a Reply