A North Carolina woman is suing Google alleging that her husband died after driving his car off a collapsed bridge last year while following directions using Google Maps, The Independent reported.
According to the lawsuit filed in Wake County Superior Court, Philip Paxson, a medical device salesman and father of two, died on the night of September 30, 2022, after getting drowned in Hickory, North Carolina. The suit alleged that Paxson was following Google’s directions while driving through an unfamiliar neighbourhood on the way home from his daughter’s ninth birthday party.
The lawsuit claims the tech giant directed Paxson over a bridge that had been collapsed for nine years. His Jeep Gladiator plunged into Snow Creek in Hickory.
“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,” his wife, Alicia Paxson, said in a news release.
The lawsuit claims that the police found Paxton’s body in his overturned and partially submerged truck and had said there were no barriers or warning signs along the washed-out roadway. He had driven off an unguarded edge and crashed about 20 feet below, the Independent reported.
The lawsuit claims that several people told Google about the collapse in the years leading up to the death and the company failed to update its route information. One local resident said that she even received an email confirmation that the report was received, but nothing was ever changed.
The family has accused Google of gross negligence and willful and wanton conduct, and asks for an unspecified amount of compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees for Paxson’s family, which includes his wife and two children, ages 7 and 9, reported Forbes.
“We have the deepest sympathies for the Paxson family,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said in a statement. “Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps and we are reviewing this lawsuit.”