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Court Sides With Engineering Firm in Clermont-Area Guardrail Crash

An appeals court Friday ruled in favor of an engineering firm despite questions about the design of a guardrail in a case stemming from a death in a 2008 crash on the Florida Turnpike near Clermont.

The 5th District Court of Appeal directed a Lake County circuit judge to enter a judgment for Transportation Engineering Inc., which designed the guardrail for the Florida Department of Transportation. The crash in question involved the death of an 18-year-old Miami Lakes woman who was a passenger in a 2007 Nissan Versa that spun out of control and struck the end of a guardrail.

country road

One of the key issues in the case was that the end of the guardrail did not have a type of cushion that was required to prevent vehicles from getting impaled. A circuit judge granted summary judgment to a contractor that installed the guardrail, but did not do so for the design firm.

According to the ruling, Transportation Engineering Inc. argued “there could be no dispute that DOT had actual knowledge of the alleged defect where DOT expressly required the firm to design the guardrail in a way that did not include a crash cushion.”

The three-judge panel agreed with the argument, stating that, “It was undisputed at summary judgment that DOT accepted the project with bare (uncushioned) guardrail ends … and that this was an open and obvious condition.’’

Guardrails are strategically placed along highways to not just protect drivers, but also to limit the damage caused in a moor vehicle accident. Guardrails are designed with an energy-absorbing end terminal that should absorb the shock of a collision. However, these terminals can malfunction, causing the guardrail to deliver more harm to motorists than the collision itself.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a guardrail accident, understand that you have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. A Villages Auto Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton proudly helps victims of accidents involving guardrails in The Villages and throughout Lake, Sumter and Marion Counties.

Contact us today at 352-369-5334 or through our online contact form for a free initial consultation. We can discuss your legal options and help you further understand how to obtain financial compensation for the losses you or a loved one have suffered.

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