Tennessee father files consumer safety protection lawsuit over guardrails

One crash in November 2016 claimed the life of Stephen Eimers' 17-year-old daughter Hannah. Her car went off the roadway on Interstate 75 in McMinn County, hitting a guardrail that pushed Hannah into the backseat.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Tennessee father filed a consumer safety protection lawsuit after his daughter was killed in a Nov. 2016 crash.

The crash claimed the life of Hannah Eimers, 17. Her car went off the roadway on Interstate 75 in McMinn County, hitting a guardrail that pushed Hannah into the backseat. Her father, Stephen Eimers, was mistakenly sent a bill for $3,000 to replace the guardrail.

On November 1, 2016, Steve Eimers lost his 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, when her vehicle collided with an X-LITE guardrail on the driver side. The rail pierced the driver side front door and sliced through to the rear passenger door, striking Hannah in the head and chest and thrusting her into the back seat of the car, killing her instantly. (Photo: Family)

“I believe had my daughter hit a different product that night she would be alive,” said Eimers.

Since then, Eimers has visited Washington to speak with lawmakers on X-Lite guardrails.

“Every day, my family must confront the never-ending nightmare of losing our beautiful daughter Hannah, a pain shared by many others across this country who have seen precious lives cut short by this dangerous product,” said Eimers, father of Hannah Eimers. “Companies who profit from selling safety mechanisms and who create public hazards, instead of public safety, must accept responsibility and do everything possible to ensure these tragedies never happen again.”

Read More: See the full lawsuit

The lawsuit is against companies that are involved in the manufacturing and installation of the guardrails. The guardrails are made by a Nebraska-based company, Lindsay Corporation.

“I don’t need revenge. I don’t need vengeance. I want justice,” added Eimers.

The suit claims that X-Lite guardrails have taken the lives of at least six people since 2016 by “impaling vehicle passengers rather than telescoping into itself.”

The family says they hope each and every X-Lite unit, in every state, is removed.

“I’m shocked that they haven’t themselves acted. I’m shocked that the Federal Highway Administration hasn’t acted. I’m shocked that states around the country, very few are acting,” said Eimers.

“It is simply beyond belief that Lindsay Corporation has turned a blind eye to the serious danger posed to motorists,” said Ted Leopold, Chair of Cohen Milstein, Sellers & Toll’s Defective Products practice, which represents Eimers, as well as the Beuttel, Davison and Byrd families. “The tragic loss of Hannah and victims across the country must compel action and we look forward to supporting and representing Mr. Eimers in his fight to hold those responsible accountable and bring greater safety to our nation’s roadways.”

Related: Families sue guardrail company after fatal Tennessee accidents

The families filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and Cumberland Guardrail, Inc. in 2016.

“Instead of protecting motorists, Lindsay Corporation has continued to deflect responsibility for its role in jeopardizing the safety of drivers nationwide,” said Leslie Mitchell Kroeger, partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team. “We are committed to rigorously pursuing justice for the Eimers’ family and supporting Mr. Eimers’ efforts to foster awareness and drive change that could save lives.”

The lawsuit says the families believes policymakers have not done enough to protect motorists nationwide.

“When the states begin to be reasonable and remove this, the person that hits the safer unit is never going to realize their life was saved,” said Eimers.

We reached out to the Lindsay Corporation for comment on this lawsuit, in a statement sent to our newsroom they say:

“X-Lite has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with Federal standards and criteria, and remains eligible for Federal transportation funding. There is no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road, but X-Lite has reduced the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents. A variety of factors contribute to the potential for injury when a driver fails to stay on the road, including speed, the angle at which a vehicle makes impact, and whether road safety equipment is installed and maintained properly.”

Tennessee has been removing the X-Lite system for months. Tennessee Department of Transportation says they will be able to provide a list of X-Lite guardrails that remain later in the week. Crews are replacing the end terminals with MASH systems which follow new federal safety criteria.

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