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When the cause of a car accident is anything but clear

In the wake of a fatal auto accident, it is not always clear what caused the crash and if it could have been prevented. Was it reckless driving? Was it an inattentive driver in another vehicle? Were road conditions poor? Did the vehicle suffer from a design or manufacturing flaw? Was the accident due to a combination of factors?

Sadly, questions like these often go unanswered because law enforcement agencies can only devote a small amount of time and resources to investigating crashes. Independent investigation can be a significant part of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, however. In addition to seeking compensation, victims and their families often file lawsuits seeking something equally important: answers.

A real-life example of this is a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the teenage daughter of actor Paul Walker. Just after Thanksgiving in 2013, Walker was riding as a passenger in his friend’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT when the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree.

According to news reports, Walker survived the crash but died from smoke and fire-related injuries a short time later. The crashed vehicle burst into flames approximately one minute and 20 seconds after impact. This has raised many questions about whether Walker may have been trapped in the vehicle and unable to exit.

To be sure, the cause of this accident has always been controversial. There is evidence to suggest that the driver was speeding prior to the crash and may have been driving recklessly. But the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT does lack some basic safety features that allegedly makes it more dangerous. The attorneys representing Walker’s daughter have said that 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.”

With so many vehicle safety recalls in recent years, it would be foolish to dismiss safety defects as the cause of or a contributing factor to any given accident. Hopefully, with this lawsuit, Paul Walker’s daughter will find some answers and some measure of closure.

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