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Accidents Due to Defective Guardrails


A Tennessee motorist was recently killed in a single motor vehicle collision. The motorist was headed east on Nashville pike when the driver’s motor vehicle crossed into the opposing lanes of traffic. The motorist’s vehicle soon collided with a guardrail, flipped into a tree line, and caught fire. The motor vehicle’s driver was taken to a nearby medical facility where the motorist was pronounced dead. Fortunately, no other individuals were involved in the collision. The exact circumstances that caused the accident are still being investigated. Data shows that guardrails often prevent injuries or deaths in a motor vehicle accident, but guardrails can be dangerous if they are ineffective or left unmaintained.

The Purpose of Guardrails

A guardrail is a low-rising metal barrier located along a road’s shoulder. Guardrails are positioned along roadways across the state of Tennessee. These structures are designed to prevent motor vehicle drivers from veering off the road where dangerous terrain is often located. When correctly designed, guardrails are able to deflect motor vehicles and act as barriers to prevent further momentum created by a collision.

The Unique Danger to Motorcycles

While guardrails are designed for larger vehicles, including passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, they are a particular danger for motorcyclists. A guardrail is likely to stop a motorcycle, but the vehicle’s rider may be thrown from the cycle and receive significant injuries or even die as a result.

Guardrail Regulations

The Tennessee Department of Safety reports that a number of guardrail accidents involving fatalities occur each year in the state. There are certain regulations with which guardrails must comply in order to be considered effective. These regulations include the following:

  • Motor vehicles cannot be able to drive over or under rails;
  • Motor vehicle cannot bounce off guardrails and back into traffic;
  • A rail must be sturdy enough to slow down and even stop a moving vehicle.

One of the most well publicized and recent cases involving defective guardrails concerned Trinity Industries, which made changes to guardrail designs without the approval of the Federal Highway Administration.

Types of Accidents Involving Guardrails

There are a large number of motor vehicle accidents that can potentially involve collision with a guardrail. Some of the most common examples of these types of accidents include rear end collisions, head-on collisions, vehicle rollovers, sideswipe collisions, hit and run accidents, multiple vehicle collisions, or side impact collisions.

Consult with a Top Accident Lawyer

When guardrail accidents occur, there are a variety of ways in which individuals can be hurt, including broken bones, facial lacerations, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, paralysis, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has experienced physical or financial hardships due to an accident involving a defective guardrail, it is an extremely wise idea to consult about matters with an experienced Nashville lawyer at Calhoun Law, PLC. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm if you have been in an accident involving a guardrail.




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