According to CNN, the car 40-year-old actor Paul Walker was in at the time of his death on November 30, 2013 has three times the horsepower of the average car and is notoriously difficult to handle, even for professional drivers. Both Paul Walker, best known for his roles in the “Fast & Furious” action films, and Roger Rodas, Walker’s driving team partner, who was behind the wheel at the time of the accident, died after the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT they were traveling in barreled into a pole and burst into flames. While Los Angeles County authorities are currently stating that speed was a factor in the crash, other questions have been raised about the car itself.
Paul Walker Death Due to Product Defect?
Recent reports and ongoing investigations are currently suggesting that there may have been a product defect in the car. Both Paul Walker and Rodas were more than capable of handling the Porsche, and there had been no indication of racing, distracted driving or driving under the influence. Several factors lead investigators to believe that a product defect could have been the cause of the accident.
A video released shows that the fire that engulfed the Porsche did not erupt until a full minute after the car clipped a light pole. The conclusion, based on a security camera video, shows black smoke beginning to rise from the scene of the crash 60 seconds after the light pole and a tree fall to the ground. Recent autopsy results show that Rodas was dead on impact from multiple traumatic injuries, but Paul Walker died from a combination of impact and the fire, leaving many to wonder if he was knocked unconscious and subsequently inhaled the smoke, unable to escape the vehicle.
A Product Defect Could Be Grounds for Legal Action
The 2005 Porsche Carrera GT is not like other traditional cars in that its maximum speed tops out at 208 miles per hour and it boasts more than 600 horsepower and a powerful V10 engine. Experts agree that the car was not for novices, and that the Carrera GT program started as a racing program. Although the vehicle is notoriously difficult to drive and is purely a racer’s car, both Paul Walker and Rodas, a professional racecar driver, had more than enough experience in handling these types of vehicles.
Racecar driver Randy Pobst coached the actors, including Walker, in the second “Fast & Furious” film – a series for which Walker was well-known. Pobst stated that Paul Walker was a natural car guy and by far the best driver, giving no indication that Walker nor his partner would be unable to maneuver the difficult Carrera GT. Instead, as investigators continue to look into the accident in an attempt to put the puzzle pieces together, some speculate that a product defect in the car itself could likely be the cause of the incident.
When a product defect, as it may be the case with the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, leads to injury or death even with proper use, the consequences can be devastating. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, those injured or families of deceased loved ones may be entitled to file claims to seek compensation for injuries or wrongful death. Product liability lawyers are experienced in handling these cases, and while no amount of financial compensation can take away the trauma or the loss of a life, filing a claim can help surviving family members to be able to handle the finances associated with injury or death and allow them the time to grieve that they deserve.