The family of a man who reportedly died after falling from a collapsed bridge in North Carolina while using Google Maps is suing Google for negligence, alleging the company failed to update its wayfinding system.
Family of man who allegedly died after driving his car off a bridge while using Google Maps sues Google
When and where did that happen?
On September 30, 2022, Philip Paxson, 47, was driving home from his eldest daughter’s ninth birthday party in Hickory, North Carolina, using Google Maps, according to reports. However, the GPS route took him down an unknown path to a bridge that had collapsed about a decade earlier and had never been restored, forcing him to drown.
On Tuesday, the father of two’s family sued Google in Wake County, blaming the company for his death. According to the lawsuit, Paxon’s Jeep fell off an unsecured ledge, crashed 20 feet below and drowned.
“Our children want to know how and why their dad died, and I am speechless because, as an adult, I still don’t understand how the people in charge of the GPS directions and the bridge could have acted in such a disregard for human life. “said his widow, Alicia Paxson.
State troopers who discovered Paxton’s body in his overturned and partially submerged truck reported no barricades or warning signs along the washed-out roads.
What does the lawsuit state?
According to the lawsuit, he went off an unsecured ledge and crashed about 20 feet below. The lawsuit further claims that several people contacted Google Maps about the crash in the years before Paxson’s death and pressured the company to update their route information.
Another Hickory resident used the map in September 2020 to inform the company that it was sending traffic across the collapsed bridge, according to the court filing. Google confirmed receiving its report and reviewing the requested adjustment in an email sent in November 2020, but the lawsuit claims Google took no further action.
“We express our deepest condolences to the Paxson family,” a Google official said. “Our goal is to provide accurate route information in Maps and we are now analyzing this demand,” Google says.
The bridge was not being maintained by local or state government, according to the North Carolina State Patrol, and the original developer’s company had closed. According to the Hickory Record, the complaint identifies Hickory businessman James Tarlton and companies Tarde LLC and Hinckley Gauvain LLC as the owners of the bridge and adjacent properties.
According to multiple reports, Tarlton and the two companies have been accused of failing to repair the damaged bridge and failing to provide adequate lighting to prevent people from falling into Snow Creek.
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