Google sued for negligence after man following Google Maps drives off collapsed bridge

Man using GPS navigation in a car
Man using GPS navigation in a car Photo credit Getty Images/AndreyPopov

Most people today could not function without Google Maps in their car.  Long gone are the days of unfurling the map while you’re on the side of a highway in the middle of a road trip to figure out just where the heck you’re going.

Now, it’s all on our phones, and most of the time is incredibly accurate.  Google Maps can make mistakes though.

Unfortunately, one of these mistakes led to the passing of North Carolina man Phillip Paxson, who died after driving off a collapsed bridge while following directions on Google Maps.

As such, Paxson’s wife Alicia has filed a negligence lawsuit against Google, claiming that while following directions on Google Maps “through an unfamiliar neighborhood on the way home from his daughter's ninth birthday party,” the app Paxson to cross Snow Creek Bridge, which had collapsed in 2013.

Alicia Paxson said in a statement, "Our girls ask how and why their daddy died, and I'm at a loss for words they can understand because, as an adult, I still can't understand how those responsible for the GPS directions, and the bridge, could have acted with so little regard for human life.

“Google ignored the concerned community voices telling them to change its map and directions. No one should ever lose a loved one this way, and we want to make sure our voices are heard."

According to the suit, Google Maps had been notified about the Snow Creek Bridge collapse in the years leading up to Paxson's death, and the suit includes images of messages from Hickory resident Kim Ellis, who suggested edits to Google Maps twice regarding the collapsed bridge.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement, "We have the deepest sympathies for the Paxson family.  Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps and we are reviewing this lawsuit."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images/AndreyPopov