Defective Guardrails Blamed For Injuries And Deaths
Lawsuits over defective guardrails are nothing new. However, it’s upsetting to hear that they are still in use throughout the State of Florida. A recent incident involving a man who lost his leg gained attention in the news. He was the passenger in a pickup truck that swerved to miss a dog when the pickup struck a guardrail. Instead of folding like an according, the guardrail shattered into shards, impaled the truck, and severed the man’s leg. While it’s hard to claim that the man was lucky, people have died due to guardrail sheering in the past.
How does this happen? Well, safety standards concerning guardrails are obvious to anyone who applied a reasonable amount of care. Do you want a guardrail that shatters into sharp pieces of metal, or rather, would you prefer one that did not? Since 100% of people would prefer the latter, it is eminently predictable that a guardrail with that sort of functionality would be dangerous to the public. Nonetheless, many municipalities still have these dangerous and defective guardrails in circulation, even after being responsible for several deaths and injuries.
Who is responsible for these injuries?
Technically, the liability would fall on some combination of the guardrail company and the local government that installed defective guardrails. However, this has been a problem for a long time. Lawsuits against this company have already been filed. The company may not be solvent, it may not exist anymore, there may be no one to sue other than the government. In that case, the plaintiff could still file a lawsuit, but their damages would be capped at $200,000. The loss of a limb would typically pay ten times that figure under ideal conditions. So, the plaintiff would be in a tough position.
Ultimately, the plaintiff can force the matter into the press and then force local governments to take the guardrail issue seriously. That would spur officials to conduct a review of all the guardrails in the state, note which ones were defective, and then replace them. Ultimately, that would prevent another tragedy like this from occurring, but it’s sad that so many people had to be injured before anyone took notice. Particularly because this was happening in other states prior to Florida reporting guardrail incidents.
Who is being sued?
The lawsuit does not list the guardrail company. Instead, it makes allegations against Florida’s Department of Transportation stating that the guardrails were installed improperly. If true, then there would be no cause of action against the guardrail company. However, guardrail companies have been sued in the past over shearing injuries. So, it’s probably still on the table. At present, the plaintiff’s claims are against Florida DoT and not the guardrail company. So, it’s likely that the plaintiffs could not find an issue with the guardrail itself.
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