The family of Philip Paxson, of North Carolina, US, who drowned last year after he driving off a collapsed bridge while using Google Maps for directions has sued Google for negligence, their case being that their lack of update to the maps led directly to his death.
His family stated in a lawsuit that he was following Google Maps directions, when he plunged into a creek off the collapsed bridge in Hickory, N.C.
It happened on a rainy night on September 30, 2022, as Paxson, a medical device salesman was returning home from his daughter’s birthday party and navigating through roads he was not so familiar with according to the lawsuit. His wife had returned home with their daughters in her own car, while the husband drove separately, after staying back to clean up.
His wife, Alicia Paxson, has also sued two businesses and an individual who the lawsuit says owned, controlled or were responsible for the collapsed bridge, which was unmarked, with no barricades.
José Castañeda, speaking for Google, said in a statement the company sympathizes with the Paxson family. “Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps, and we are reviewing this lawsuit,” he said.
Complains have been submitted to Google Maps over years about directing drivers across the bridge, as it had collapsed in 2013, according to the lawsuit. In November 2020, Google Maps had actually acknowledged receipt of a complaint that a Hickory resident had submitted about the route being dangerous but it continued to suggest the route, as the lawsuit states.