Losing a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle accident is undoubtedly devastating for family members and loved ones. People often want to know why a crash happened and what could have been done to prevent the accident. Sometimes these answers come from police and accident investigation efforts, but there are other times when there is more to the story. Working with an attorney to pursue a wrongful death claim can help a victim's family uncover all the pertinent information and pursue damages from the party responsible for an accident.
For example, many Californians read about the tragic and untimely death of actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas. The initial police reports stated that Rodas was driving too fast when he lost control of the Porsche the men were in and crashed. However, Rodas' widow filed a lawsuit against Porsche Cars North America after new information came to light suggesting that the vehicle was unsafe.
According to the lawsuit, the car that the men were riding in is described by Porsche as "close to a race car as we will ever get." Unfortunately, the car was not manufactured according to racing standards. There was an improper crash cage in the vehicle and there were issues with the suspension system. The suit also states that the car did not have critical safety features in the gas tank, which could have prevented the car from catching fire after the crash.
Additionally, the vehicle was the subject of a 2005 lawsuit that cited over-steering and the lack of an electronic stability control system, which is designed to help drivers control a vehicle in the event of over-steering.
The lawsuit alleges that the vehicle was unsafe and therefore, the car maker should be held accountable for the catastrophic accident. Whether the courts will agree with police reports, which only cited speed as a contributing factor, or the claims by the widow remains to be seen.
This case highlights the need for legal counsel when it comes to fatal car accidents. There may be critical details that are not immediately available, and negligent parties may go to great lengths to hide or deny factors that could tie them to a fatality. With the help of an attorney, family members can get the information they need to hold a party responsible for their loss and pursue the compensation they deserve.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Porsche in Paul Walker crash was going only 55 mph, lawsuit claims," Richard Winton, May 13, 2014