Paul Walker‘s 16-year-old daughter Meadow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche following his deadly Nov. 30, 2013 crash in Valencia, CA, claiming the car he was riding in had many design flaws.
According to the lawsuit, Walker, 40, initially survived the impact of the crash, but was trapped in the passenger seat of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT alongside his friend, driver Roger Rodas, and consequently burned alive.
It states the seat belt “snapped Walker’s torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis,” trapping him in the passenger seat. The subsequent fire apparently didn’t erupt until a minute and 20 seconds after impact, but because he was trapped in the car, “Paul Walker breathed soot into his trachea while the Porsche Carrera GT burned.”
While law enforcement says the car crash was due to speeding between 80 to 93 miles per hour, the lawsuit claims Rodas was driving between 63 and 71 miles per hour when it veered out of control. Had the car had the proper stabilization system – Porsche Stability Management System (PSM) – swerving would have been prevented.
Furthermore, the lawsuit claims Porsche was aware the Carrera GT had “a history of instability and control issues,” and that “the vehicle lacked safety features that are found on well-designed racing cars or even Porsche’s least expensive road cars — features that could have prevented the accident or, at a minimum, allowed Paul Walker to survive the crash.”
Other defects acknowledged in the suit include deficient side door reinforcements and fuel lines that didn’t properly protect the car from fires.
“The bottom line is that the Porsche Carrera GT is a dangerous car. It doesn’t belong on the street,” Walker’s attorney, Jeff Milam, said in a statement. “And we shouldn’t be without Paul Walker or his friend, Roger Rodas.”
Reflecting on my father, I found myself reflecting on his passions. His passion for the ocean, his passion for rescuing animals, his passion for helping people and his passion for spontaneous goodwill. I wanted to start this foundation because I want to share that piece of him with the world. I want to share that part of him with others. I am tremendously proud to be launching The #PaulWalkerFoundation (@paulwalkerfdn) on his birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my father. #DoGood
CNN notes that “Calvin Kim with Porsche Cars North America said the automaker hasn’t seen the lawsuit and wouldn’t comment on specifics.”
Kim noted, “As we have said before, we are saddened whenever anyone is hurt in a Porsche vehicle, but we believe the authorities’ reports in this case clearly established that this tragic crash resulted from reckless driving and excessive speed.”
The autopsy previously had revealed that there was “scant soot” in Walker’s trachea, suggesting he passed away before the smoke and fire erupted. The report further said he suffered “fractures of his left jawbone, collarbone, pelvis, ribs and spine.”
Update — Sept. 29, 16:00 p.m. ET:
EW reports that Porsche reiterated in a statement:
As we have said before, we are very sad whenever anyone is hurt in a Porsche vehicle, but we believe the authorities’ reports in this case clearly establish that this tragic crash resulted from reckless driving and excessive speed.
Rodas’ widow, Kristine Rodas, filed a lawsuit against Porsche in 2014, for negligence and a lack of safety figures. In response, Porsche said, “Roger Rodas’s death, and all other injuries or damages claimed, were the result of Roger Rodas’s own comparative fault.”