Car Accidents and Guardrails
Guardrails are an important safety feature of our roads and highways. They can keep drivers from veering off the road or down embankments, and help absorb the impact of a collision. But sometimes, guardrails can make accidents worse. At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, our car accident lawyers can review your accident to determine if a guardrail contributed to your injuries.
While most guardrails work as intended, others may have design elements that increase the risk of injury. Those who are injured in car accidents with guardrails in Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas may be entitled to damages beyond a substandard insurance settlement. To learn more about your options in recovering damages for your injuries, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
Guardrails Sometimes Make Accidents Worse
Guardrails are supposed to help keep drivers and their passengers safe by providing a barrier from such hazards as drop-offs, trees, and ditches. Unfortunately, some guardrails don’t work as intended and can make accidents worse.
There are several reasons guardrails may make accidents worse. The following are some of the more common reasons guardrails can contribute to an accident.
In order to provide proper safety to motorists, guardrails must be regularly maintained. Like the road they line, guardrails can experience wear from exposure to weather and age. Even previous collisions can damage guardrails and affect their effectiveness.
In addition to the guardrails themselves having maintenance issues, the ground where the guardrails attach can erode. This may cause a guardrail to dislodge upon impact.
If a guardrail is not installed properly, it may not give way in the event a vehicle crashes into it, potentially sending the vehicle off a steep ledge or into another hazard, like a tree.
Guardrails may be installed wrong as a result of construction companies taking shortcuts. In other cases, it may be due to unclear installation instructions from the guardrail manufacturer.
Another potentially dangerous problem is when guardrails are installed at the wrong height. If not high enough, vehicles may go over them in an accident. If too high, a vehicle may pass underneath.
Faulty Design or Other Defects
A faulty design or defective materials may also be to blame when guardrails contribute to an accident.
One way guardrails work as a safety measure is to absorb some of the force of impact and slow a vehicle down. To do so, guardrails are supposed to telescope. When guardrails designed to telescope don’t do so, the end of the guardrail may end up impaling the vehicle and injuring the driver or passengers.
Seeking Damages for Car Accidents with Guardrails
If a faulty, poorly maintained, or incorrectly installed guardrail has caused car accident injuries to be more severe, it may be possible to recover damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
When poorly maintained guardrails are at fault, the entity, such as state or city government, responsible for road maintenance may be liable. If the guardrail was improperly installed, the construction company who installed the guardrail may be held responsible; if faulty design or product defects are to blame, the manufacturer or designer of the guardrail may be sued for damages.