Family Billed For Guardrail Repairs After an Accident on I-75
A teen died tragically and violently, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation charged the family for the repairs. As if the heartache was not traumatic enough, receiving the bill was adding insult to injury for the deceased girls' parents. The guardrail the teen struck was defective and actually caused her death. This heart wrenching story demonstrates how tragedy can strike instantly. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law represent auto accident victims and their loved ones in catastrophic injury cases and wrongful death cases in the Southeast, including Tennessee.
The tragic story
The driver of the car was a 17-year-old high school student. She was traveling on I-75 around 5:45 a.m. on November 1, 2016. The car left the road and entered the median strip. The car skidded into the end of a guardrail. Instead of the guardrail buckling and deflecting the car away from it, the end punctured the driver's door. The guardrail entered the car with tremendous force and struck the driver in the chest and head. The force of the impact propelled the driver into the backseat of the car. The car then spun around and damaged 15 to 20 feet of guardrail. The car came to rest facing in the wrong direction with the guardrail end stuck into the car. The driver was killed instantly. However, the teen might have survived if the guardrail performed as it was intended by softening the blow and redirecting the car away from danger.
Around February 24, 2017, the decedent's parents received a bill from the Tennessee Department of Transportation. According to the story appearing in the Knoxville News Sentinel, the bill was for almost three thousand dollars. The family was understandably crushed. The bill was for labor and materials for replacing 25 feet of guardrail that failed to work as designed. Unfortunately, the Tennessee Department of Transportation removed the guardrail materials into which the teenager crashed from its approved products list about one week before the deadly crash. The Tennessee Department of Transportation rescinded the bill and agreed that the family is not obligated to pay for the repairs.
Defective Guardrail Killed The Teenage Driver
The guardrail model in question is known as the Lindsay X-Lite. The Tennessee Department of Transportation removed the product from its approved list after learning that the guard rail would not perform safely at speeds greater than 62.2 miles per hour. The speed limit on that stretch of I-75 is 70 miles per hour. Therefore, the state was using guardrails on roads that were not designed to handle speeds at which vehicles could lawfully travel. Tennessee began to reconsider the safety of the guardrails after Virginia Department of Transportation deemed the X-Lites too dangerous to use.
According to the news report, the Federal Highway Administration performed crash tests on the X-Lite guardrail. The Administration found that the guardrail met the minimum safety standards. The Tennessee Department of Transportation removed the guardrails from its approved product list after the Federal Highway Administration published its findings. However, the Department of Transportation did not remove the defective guardrails but began replacing damaged guardrails with a different model.
Could the tragic result have been avoided but for the State's failure to replace the defective guardrails?
Maybe. The agonizing fact remains that the Tennessee Department of Transportation's failure to replace defective guardrails means the family of the deceased teen will never know if she would have survived if the guardrails were not defective.
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If you have been injured in any type of accident involving negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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