On September 28th, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Porsche regarding the death of Paul Walker. Walker was killed in a car crash two years ago in California when the driver lost control of the car (a Porsche Carrera GT) and it swerved, hitting a tree, killing both the driver and Walker (the passenger). Porsche is accused of wrongful death in that the car lacked safety features found in most cars (such as an electronic stability system) and had a “defective” seat belt design, which could have prevented the accident or, at a minimum, allowed Walker to survive. Porsche had advertised the car as a “racing car licensed for the road.”
Specifically, the complaint alleges that, due to the particular car design and how the seat belts were anchored, they snapped Walker’s torso back with too much force, breaking his ribs and pelvis and trapping him in the car until the vehicle erupted in flames and killed him. The complaint also alleges that the fire that was caused by faulty fuel lines that lacked the fittings to automatically shut down the fuel flow and that Porsche knew that the car model had a history of instability but chose not to install a control system to address the safety issues, as well as side door reinforcement bars that lacked adequate welds and was made of weaker material that what is used in other similar cars.
Strict Products Liability
In this case, Walker’s family claims that this particular Porsche model was designed, manufactured, and advertised to perform at high speeds (well in excess of typical speed limits) and, in doing so, implied that there was increased control at these higher speeds. However, in spite of equipping the car with innovative racing technologies, the company allegedly failed to include common safety features found in racecars and ‘regular’ cars, which would prevent loss of control, improve resistance to side impact and improve crash survivability. In failing to provide for these features, the Carrera GT was defective and unreasonably dangerous at the time it was put on the market, and thus, according to the allegations, Porsche is strictly liable for the defective vehicle.
The complaint also alleges that Porsche owed Paul Walker a duty to exercise reasonable care in the design, testing, manufacture, assembly, production, sale, distribution and servicing of the Porsche Carrera GT, including a duty to ensure that the vehicle did not cause unnecessary injuries or deaths. It also alleges that there was a duty to warn drivers and passengers of potentially hazardous or life-threatening conditions. Walker’s family feels that the company failed to exercise ordinary care and breached that duty, and these acts and omissions were the direct and proximate cause of Walker’s death and the family’s damages.
Finally, as a direct and proximate cause of the wrongful death of Paul Walker, his family claims to have been denied the benefits of having him in their lives and has requested all damages related to loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, training, guidance, and financial support of Walker, including all lost income and earnings (present and future) expenses, and all special damages to the extent allowed by law.
Solnick & Associates
The Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers at Solnick & Associates help survivors of persons killed in accidents or from the use of defective products recover wrongful death benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation.