Thursday 22 August 2019

Father of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker suing Porsche over 2013 accident that killed star

Actor Paul Walker, aged 40
Actor Paul Walker, aged 40
Paul Walker in Fast and Furious 7
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel

Paul Walker's father sued Porsche for negligence and wrongful death over the 2013 accident that killed the Fast & Furious star.

Walker's father, who is the executor of his son's estate, filed the lawsuit claiming the Porsche Carrera GT the actor was riding in lacked safety features that could have saved the actor's life.

It cites features included in other pending lawsuits against the carmaker over the crash that might have saved the actor's life, including a stability control system, side-door reinforcements and a breakaway fuel line to help prevent the vehicle from bursting into flames after a collision.

Walker was on a break from filming the seventh film in the Fast & Furious franchise when he was killed.

He was riding in the Carrera GT driven by friend and business associate Roger Rodas when the car spun out of control, struck three trees and burst into flames on a street in Santa Clarita, California.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Mr Rodas' widow, Kristine, who has a pending claim against Porsche in federal court, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the carmaker in state court.

The car company has denied in other lawsuits, including one filed by the actor's daughter, that it is responsible for Walker's death.

On November 12, Porsche stated in a court filing that the Carrera GT had been altered and improperly maintained and those factors contributed to the deaths of Walker and Mr Rodas.

The company also called Walker "a knowledgeable and sophisticated user of the 2005 Carrera GT," Porsche's lawyers stated in response to the lawsuit by Meadow Walker, the actor's daughter.

Meadow Walker's lawyer, Jeff Milam, criticised the filing, reiterating his claims that the car as sold was unsafe.

"If Porsche had designed the car to include proper safety features, Paul would have survived, he would be filming Fast And Furious 8, and Meadow Walker would have the father she adored," Mr Milam said.

None of the cases has yet been set for trial.

Wednesday's lawsuit repeats a claim from Meadow Walker's case that the Porsche was travelling between 63 and 71mph before it spun out of control.

Investigators concluded the Porsche was going much faster - up to 94mph - when it crashed.

The inquiry by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol concluded that it was unsafe speed and not mechanical problems that caused the crash.

That investigation was aided by engineers from Porsche, who evaluated the wreckage of the rare car.

Walker, the star of the Fast & Furious film franchise, co-owned a car racing team with Mr Rodas named Always Evolving.

Meadow Walker, 17, is the sole heir of his estate, which is controlled by the actor's father, Paul William Walker III.

Walker's two brothers helped complete action scenes in Furious 7, which earned more than £1 billion globally after it was released in April.

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