The teenage daughter of actor Paul Walker Monday filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Porsche AG, claiming that defects in the car that the 40-year-old star of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise rode in when he was killed in a crash nearly two years ago.
Meadow Walker, 16, alleges that the German automobile manufacturer took safety shortcuts while loading up the Porsche Carrera GT with a 605-horsepower engine capable of up to 205 mph, and marketing it as a race car licensed for the road.
According to the complaint, Porsche knew the Carrera GT had a history of instability but did not install a control system that would have addressed such issues. It also installed the model’s seat belts in such a way that when the car fractured on impact, the shoulder belt anchor was yanked along with the rear engine compartment as the seat belt anchor stayed put, the lawsuit says.
“This snapped Walker’s torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis, flattening his seat and trapping him in a supine position, where he remained alive until the vehicle erupted into flames one minute and twenty seconds later,” the lawsuit says.
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The widow of the driver who was also killed in the crash filed a similar lawsuit last year in federal court. In that case, Porsche denied any mechanical defects in the Carrera GT.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s and California Highway Patrol reports show that investigators found that unsafe speed, not mechanical problems, was responsible for the crash. Investigators reached those conclusions after consulting with Porsche technicians.
In the lawsuit filed by Walker’s daughter, Porsche is accused of trimming the vehicle’s weight by installing side-door reinforcement bars made up of a weaker material than is used in more common cars, such as the Honda Civic, and of using a fuel hose that lacked fittings that would break free if the car were in an accident. The hose tore and helped create a fire.
“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,” the lawsuit said.