02.03.16

Can Porsche be Held Accountable for Paul Walker’s Death?

Posted in Wrongful Death at 3:17 pm by kevin

Guest Post by Frank Fernandez

It was just two years ago that news outlets began picking up reports of Paul Walker’s death. In an ironic twist of fate, the Fast and Furious star was killed when the Porsche he was riding in went up in flames. Police investigated, and with the help of agents from Porsche, it was determined that the driver was at fault for the collision. The California Highway Patrol ascertained the Carrera GT was traveling between 80 and 93mph in a 45mph zone, when Roger Rodas lost control of it, and they believe speed was the cause of the accident. However, Walker’s teenage daughter is now suing the automaker in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Speed May Have Been the Cause, but there were Numerous Contributing Factors

According to the recent lawsuit, the friends were traveling at a maximum rate of 71mph. Interestingly, CNN reported that the coroner’s office said that Rodas and walker were exceeding 100mph, though an investigator for Rodas’ widow concluded the maximum speed was 55mph. The fact that the car can reach speeds of 200mph, and can accelerate to 60mph in 3.5 seconds, likely compounds the difficulty in determining an accurate speed. On top of this, several other things have been noted about the collision.

  1. The car’s tires were nine years-old. This means that it would have had great difficulty gripping the road.
  2. An after-market exhaust system had been installed on the vehicle, which would have increased its horsepower.
  3. Porsche warned some of its dealers that the car was incredibly sensitive and powerful nearly a decade before the crash. They told managers not to let anyone drive it without training, and said that even a Foster beer can turned on its side would damage the under panels of the vehicle.
  4. According to Rodas’ widow, the speedy cars should have sturdy cages, like racecars do, to protect people in crashes. Porsche has been held responsible for how their vehicles performed in prior fatal crashes.
  5. According to the lawsuit from Walker’s daughter, the car did not have an electronic stability control system, which is common in sensitive vehicles like the Carrera GT, and might have prevented the collision.
  6. The same lawsuit alleges that the vehicle’s seatbelt design is defective, and that it prevented Walker from exiting the car after the crash.

The Outcome of the Wrongful Death Lawsuit will be Determined Based on Negligence

Cases like this are incredibly complex, and in order for this one to have merit, the attorneys for Walker’s family must prove Porsche was negligent. In one of the prior cases, a widow received $4.8 million, but Porsche was only deemed to be 8% at fault for the victim’s death. Regardless of speed, if the plaintiff can prove that Porsche played a role in Walker’s death, reparations may be made available. The defective seatbelt design, poor vehicle structure, and lack of common safety features will be paramount in the case, though it will have to be proven that the automaker should have known better, or that they intentionally acted irresponsibly.

Multiple Parties are Often Faulted for an Incident

Sadly, cases like this are all too common. May other similar ones are still underway over Takata airbags. Millions of vehicles were recalled because the airbags would sometimes shoot shrapnel throughout the car upon deployment. Some of these vehicles had faulty TRW crash sensors, which caused the airbags to deploy when there was no collision. In these cases, both companies have been found to share blame for injuries. In other words, the layers only need to prove that Porsche was partially to blame for the extent of the damage. It’s entirely plausible that Walker’s family will be awarded a payment for losses, which some experts say could be more than $10 million.

If you’ve lost a loved one in a collision, of if you have been injured in one, yourself, it’s important to review the reports and have a critical eye examine not just who caused the car accident, but what events lead to injury or death. Before news broke about Takata and TRW, individual drivers were being held accountable for the injuries. Huge cases like this usually begin with one person realizing that the car didn’t perform as it should have, and taking action. Much of the time, these lawsuits aren’t about the money at all. They’re about seeking justice for the death of a loved one, or to force regulators to take action so more deaths and injuries don’t occur.

 

Author Bio:

Frank Fernandez, Contact an attorney regarding your criminal matter. Boston MA.