The Paxson family is taking legal action against Google Corporation, claiming that its Maps app guided their father, Philip Paxson, to drive off a collapsed bridge, resulting in his tragic demise. This bridge, situated in Hickory, North Carolina, had crumbled in 2013, as reported by USA Today. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Paxson tragically fell 20 feet to his death.
The family’s legal representation has filed a case asserting that Mr. Paxson had been utilizing the Google Maps app, following its directions after attending his daughter’s 9th birthday celebration. The navigation system led him to a bridge without any signs, barricades, or markers. Regrettably, the bridge gave way, leading to Mr. Paxson’s fatal fall.
The lawsuit has been filed against Google due to the incident where a man drove his car off a collapsed bridge, and this bridge has remained unrepaired since 2013. Neighbors of the Paxson family noted that the bridge had not been fixed since its collapse in 2013, despite many individuals urging authorities to repair it to prevent accidents.
Robert Zimmerman, the attorney representing the Paxson family, discovered that several drivers, much like Mr. Paxson, had crossed the bridge with concerns about their safety. They had requested Google Maps to update its maps and classify the road as “Closed.”
The lawsuit goes on to allege that Google Maps continued to direct drivers onto the deteriorated bridge on multiple occasions. It references a report from a female driver who had asked Google to update its navigation systems. However, the specifics of this report have not been publicly disclosed, making it difficult to verify.
The report states, “Google Maps appears to provide inaccurate directions and can be particularly hazardous for emergency vehicles.” The woman who made the report received an email response from Google Maps’ automated reply system, acknowledging her input and stating that her suggestion was under review. The response read, “Thank you for sharing your knowledge. We will notify you once the changes are implemented.”
Nonetheless, the lawsuit doesn’t solely target Google. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and two local companies responsible for land and property maintenance have also been named in the suit. They are accused of failing to install warning signs or barriers.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and alleges negligence as well as willful and reckless behavior on the part of the companies involved.
CNN reached out to all the parties mentioned in the lawsuit for statements. Google offered its condolences to the Paxson family and stated, “Our objective is to provide accurate routing information in maps, and we are reviewing this lawsuit.”