If you are aware of unsafe and dangerous conditions of highways and roads that have led to motor vehicle accidents, give our firm a call to discuss whether the condition may lead to a pursuable claim against the entity responsible for the roadway. It is extremely important to obtain legal counsel from attorneys who have experience in dealing with these types of dangerous conditions. Our firm has extensive experience with these types of claims. One such example of this is our firm’s handling of numerous cases regarding guardrails.
Guardrails are placed along highways and roadways to protect motorists, but sometimes they cause more harm than good. For instance, the guardrails with turn down end treatments, otherwise known as Texas Twisters, have contributed to numerous serious accidents since the time of their installation many years ago. The most common accidents are those in which a small or medium-sized automobile would leave the roadway and “ride” the guardrail. Instead of collapsing the guardrail posts as heavier vehicles might, the guardrail can launch the automobile, either causing the vehicle to roll over or propelling it into oncoming traffic (if the turn down guardrail is in the highway median) almost like a missile. The result is often tragic, with severe injury or death.
In 1995, after the statistics and highway design studies overwhelmingly condemned the turn down guardrails, the Federal Highway Administration banned the “Texas Twister” from further installation, and required the States to submit plans for removal of these guardrail end treatments. Some States aggressively pursued the removal, but others have been slow in their removal. There may be responsibility with State and local agencies for the failure to remove these dangerous guardrail end treatments if the configuration contributed to a roll over or other serious accident.
In addition to guardrails with turn down end treatments, there are still “blunt end” guardrails which present a different but also quite serious danger to motorists. Because these end treatments do not collapse or give way upon impact, severe injury or death may occur from such impact. The Federal Highway Administration has also banned “blunt end” guardrail end treatments. Although most States have removed such guardrail end treatments, some still exist and pose a substantial hazard to motorists.
It should also be mentioned that, at times, guardrails are placed along highways and roadways where none are necessary because the slope of the terrain adjacent to the roadway is not severe enough to require the guardrail. Under these circumstances, if the guardrail did not exist, a car leaving the roadway could come to a stop without overturning or striking another object. Our law firm has been successful in pursuing the Missouri Department of Transportation in a death case involving a guardrail that should never have been placed in its location in the first place.