Texans drive every day believing that they are enjoying the protection of highway safety features like guardrails. Typically, they are correct, but sometimes these guardrails can cause more harm than good. If you were recently involved in a car accident and were injured because of a guardrail, you should be aware of your legal options for financial recovery.
Guardrails require proper material, placement, and maintenance to function correctly. When shortcomings in any of these areas cause them to lose their effectiveness, the responsible party incurs liability for any harms that may result. These responsible parties could include construction companies, manufacturers, or state or municipal government entities. You may have less time than you think to file your lawsuit, so it is in your best interest to get legal counsel as soon as possible.
The experienced Dallas guardrail car accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have about your options for recovery. We can offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your incident and potential lawsuit. To get started, call our offices today at (817) 476-1797
How Dangerous Guardrails Can Contribute to Accidents in Dallas
Guardrails are constructed and placed with a purpose in mind. Typically, this purpose is to prevent a car that is out of control from causing more damage or harm to other people. However, guardrails that are not designed or placed correctly can cause more harm than good.
One of the most frequently cited issues with guardrails is the design of the end terminal. Terminal defects have forced manufacturing companies like Trinity Industries to institute massive recalls on guardrails across the country. The issue occurs when the terminal does not extend into the ground or bend back away from the road. Instead of crumpling on impact as designed, these defective guardrails can penetrate the cabin of the vehicle and spear the driver or passengers inside.
The sheer length of a guardrail installation opens the door for construction shortcuts and human error on installation. A key element of guardrail function is the height of installation. Guardrails that are too low may cause cars to flip or topple. Guardrails that are too high may not trigger the vehicle’s safety features and could potentially penetrate the vehicle on impact. This is particularly critical if the vehicle impacted does not have protective side beams.
Guardrails must be periodically maintained to retain their effectiveness. Without that maintenance, the material may weaken, or the ground below may shift, making them substantially less effective in the instance of an accident. Ineffective maintenance policies or procedures could create dangerous conditions that would likely create liability for the government entity or company responsible.
Evidence of Dangerous Guardrails for Dallas Car Accident Lawsuits
You may not be able to tell immediately whether or how a guardrail that caused you injury was defective. The best way to get to the bottom of this issue is to take pictures at the scene of the accident. You should try your best to do this at the time of the accident, but if your injuries prevent you from accomplishing this, you can come back at a later date to get what you can. You should try your best to capture as much as you can. However, the following are specific aspects that you should attempt to capture:
- Damage to all of the vehicles involved
- Impact point on the guardrail
- Placement of the guardrail in relation to the side of the road
- Height of the guardrail above ground and road level
- Points where guardrail posts are grounded
- Any signage (or lack of signage) in the area
- Tire tracks or skid marks on the road
Whether or not you ultimately need it, it can prove vital to obtain this evidence for your potential case. Your Dallas guardrail car accident lawyer can give you guidance on what evidence you should collect and can keep it safe from misplacement or tampering.
Liability for Guardrail Car Accidents in Dallas
If a defective or poorly placed guardrail was responsible for elevating the severity of your car accident injuries in Dallas, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover for your damages. Sometimes, the most difficult part of filing your lawsuit is identifying whom you can name as a defendant.
Car accidents are a foreseeable occurrence on public roadways. That is why the local or state government installs guardrails. When the guardrails become a danger rather than a safety measure, an injury plaintiff may name the parties responsible in their lawsuit.
The responsible party could be the government body, such as your local department of transportation, that orchestrated the placement or maintenance policies of the guardrail. You may also have a case against the construction company that installed the guardrail improperly. If the fundamental design of the guardrail was flawed or the material was insufficient, you could also have a case against the manufacturing company. You can name one or more of these parties in your lawsuit in addition to the other driver who might have negligently or recklessly caused the accident in the first place. Speak to our Dallas guardrail car accident lawyers about whom you can and should name in your injury lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for Guardrail Car Accident Lawsuits in Dallas
You only have so long to file your car accident guardrail lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations on car accident injury claims runs for two years from the date of the accident. However, if your lawsuit is against a government entity, which can be common in accident lawsuits concerning guardrails, you may face notification requirements that can shorten your timeline.
Notice requirements depend on the nature of the lawsuit, the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred, and the specific government body that is named. For instance, if you believe that the City of Dallas is responsible for your injuries, you will have to fill out and submit a notice of your claim to the appropriate location within six months of the accident. Meeting notice requirements can be complicated, but your Dallas guardrail car accident lawyer will be familiar with the rules in your jurisdiction and can help you get all the paperwork filed correctly and on time. That is why you should reach out for legal help as soon as possible.
Injured by a Defective Guardrail in a Car Accident? We Can Help You Get Compensated
At The Queenan Law Firm, P.C., we work hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve. You can schedule your first appointment with one of our Dallas guardrail car accident lawyers today by calling us at (817) 476-1797.