A formal lawsuit has been filed against Google for their faulty Google Maps app after a man from North Carolina drove over a cliff last year. In September 2022, Philip Paxson had been following the guided directions from Google Maps late one night. The directions led him to drive over an unmarked, unbarricaded bridge that had collapsed years prior. He fell over the cliff, leading to his unfortunate death. He had been driving home from his daughter’s 9th birthday party.
This incident happened in the quaint little town of Hickory, North Carolina. According to locals and those living nearby the bridge, Paxson was not the first to be led to the bridge by Google Maps. He was the first to have done so late in the evening at a time when he could not see well enough to see that he needed to turn around until it was too late.
For years residents of Hickory have called for repairs to the bridge as well as Google Maps to update their information.
The bridge partially collapsed ten years ago in 2013. Since, residents have known that it was just a matter of time before some was severely injured or faced fatal consequences, given that their calls for repairs continued to fall upon deaf ears. The Paxson family, upon learning that this was not an isolated incident, sought legal counsel and filed their lawsuit against Google.
One testimony being used in favor of the Paxson family’s claims is from one woman who is remaining anonymous. Her testimony includes her written request to Google to update their maps. She wrote an email to the company explaining that the road is not drivable, but Google Maps’ GPS continues to route people over the road. She followed this information by saying “Please update this map so GPS is accurate.”
The only response she received was an autoreply from Google Maps saying, “Your suggestion is being reviewed.”
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and two local companies are also included in the lawsuit. They were responsible for the maintenance of the bridge and surrounding land. Their failure to properly display warning signs, repair the bridge, or put up any sort of barricade are just as responsible for Philip Paxson’s death as Google Maps is.
Google released a statement addressing the lawsuit, merely saying they offer their greatest sympathies to the Paxson family and that they are reviewing the lawsuit.