Paul Walker’s death was a tragedy and the legal fallout from the car accident that took the life of the Fast & Furious actor was lengthy and hotly contested. Like many civil cases, it ended without a clear verdict on who the winner was. Porsche, the manufacturer of the Carrera GT that Walker was riding in, settled with Walker’s estate for an undisclosed amount of money.
Walker was with his friend Roger Rodas who was a race driver himself. They were driving in Santa Clarita, CA when the car spun out of control, hit 3 trees and exploded into flames. Neither Walker nor Rodas were able to escape the car.
An awful tragedy became even worse when the autopsy revealed that Walker had been alive after the crash long enough to escape, but had been trapped in his seat. That would be the basis for the lawsuit brought by Walker’s daughter, Meadow.
Walker’s estate alleged that the seatbelt was configured in such a way that made escape impossible. The plaintiffs further pointed out that the coroner’s report showed no evidence of alcohol or drug use, eliminating that as a possible reason for the crash and failure to escape.
Finally, the lawsuit alleged that the Carrera GT fuel lines were not structured in such a way as to prevent a fire in the event of a crash. While Rodas had been killed on impact, Walker could have survived long enough for medics to arrive, had the fire not broken out.
A key area of dispute between Porsche and the Walker legal team came in the area of driving speed. The complaint said the car was going anywhere between 63mph and 71mph at the time of impact.
But the police report reached a very different conclusion and had the speed as high as 94 mph at the time of the crash. The Los Angeles County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol both concluded that unsafe driving, rather than mechanical defects, was the reason for the crash.
Walker’s estate also sued the estate of Rodas and settled for $10 million. The culpability of the driver would seem to point to possible vindication for the car manufacturer. But there was still the issue of whether the fire was preventable and if design flaws kept Walker trapped post-crash.
All of which led the disputing parties to a settlement. A tragic episode of Hollywood history and a lengthy legal wrangling has finally come to an end.