Paul Walker died horrifically in a car crash two years ago, but according to a new lawsuit filed by his daughter, Meadow Walker, his death could have been avoided if Porsche had updated the safety features used in the Porsche Carrera GT.
Based on the lawsuit, the details of which were obtained by TMZ, Walker survived the crash but the seat-belt jerked his "torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis." Paul Walker was trapped in the car, which didn't burst into flames until a minute and half after the initial impact. He was burned alive, the lawsuit claims, as there is evidence that "he breathed soot into his trachea while the Porsche Carrera GT burned."
Meadow Walker and her legal teal team allege that Porsche knew there were safety glitches with the Carrera GT, including "instability and control issues." This could have been rectified by installing the Porsche Stability Management System. It's a standard feature in all other models except the Carrera. Meadow Walker and her team say that this was an intentional decision.
They also claim there were other safety issues that led to the Paul Walker crash and the subsequent combustion. Issues like faulty side door reinforcements and fuel lines that could have protected the car from bursting into flames.
"The bottom line is that the Porsche Carrera GT is a dangerous car," says Jeff Milam, attorney for Meadow Walker. "It doesn't belong on the street. And we shouldn't be without Paul Walker or his friend, Roger Rodas."
Law enforcement officials state that the Paul Walker accident was caused by speeding, claiming that Paul's friend Roger Rodas was driving at 80 to 95 mph. But the Walker legal team say different. They allege that Rodas was actually going between 63 and 71 mph when he lost control of the vehicle. This loss of control would not have happened if the Carrera GT had "a proper stabilization system," they claim.
According to an article in the New York Daily News, Roger Rodas' widow filed a lawsuit against Porsche USA earlier this year for negligence and wrongful death.
A judge made a ruling in the case in February and dismissed some of the claims. However, the ruling does state that Porsche should answer to claims that the Carrera GT is defective and unsafe to drive. Porsche responded by placing all of the blame on Rodas.
"Roger Rodas's death, and all other injuries or damages claimed, were the result of Roger Rodas's own comparative fault," Porsche's attorneys said. "Rodas chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself and others to such perils, dangers and risks."
In response to the ruling in the Rodas case, Porsche maintained that there are zero safety defects in the car. They also claimed to believe that the car was "altered and abused" in a way that they could have never predicted and that could have lead to the death of Paul Walker and Rodas.
It's interesting to note that other pro drivers have struggled with driving the Porsche Carrera GT.
"It's the first car in my life that I drive and I feel scared," world rally champion and Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl told Drive magazine just before it went on sale in 2003.
According to an article in Forbes, the Carrera GT was unveiled in a Paris motor show in the year 2000, but the first sales were delayed because Rohrl said that the power of the Carrera GT would be unmanageable for regular drivers.
Other pro drivers have echoed that sentiment. Jay Leno, who is an acclaimed speed driver and mechanic in his own right, careened out of control in a Carrera GT on the Talladega track in 2005. Another driver died in this Porsche model in 2006 on the California Speedway in 2006. According to Forbes, a lawsuit was filed and the case was settled out of court, with the plaintiffs receiving $4.5 million.
Only time will tell if the Paul Walker death lawsuit will be settled in the same way.
Walker was best known for his lead role in the Fast and Furious movie franchise. Despite his death, Paul Walker was still a part of Furious 7 through the use of CGI and his brothers as body doubles.
[Photo by William Volcov/Getty Images]