District of Columbia residents who were fans of actor Paul Walker may have heard that although the cause of the fatal car crash that killed him and his friend who was the driver in 2013 was found to be excessive speed, a lawsuit has been filed against Porsche that alleges that design flaws in the car contributed to the severity of the accident. Among the flaws were a lack of stability control, poor side door reinforcement and faulty fuel line protection. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the late actor’s daughter, also alleges flaws to the seat belts that may have resulted in Walker and the driver being trapped in the vehicle as it burned rather than being able to escape.

While the accident report cited the car’s speed as possibly being higher than 90 mph at the time of impact, the lawsuit alleges that it was traveling as much as 30 mph slower. However, regardless of the speed, the lawsuit says that Porsche had a responsibility to make the vehicle safer. The company was successfully sued in an earlier lawsuit in which a 2005 Porsche Carrera crashed into a wall on a race track. The car Walker was in was a 2004 model.

Porsche was aware that the car was difficult to handle. In 2004, the company had issued a memo that cautioned dealers that they should educate drivers about the delicate handling required to drive it.

The surviving family members who have lost a loved one in a car accident like this one may want to speak with an attorney about the advisability of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in jurisdictions that recognize pure contributory negligence, such as the District of Columbia, any negligence on the part of the decedent that is found to have contributed to the accident may bar recovery.

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