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Google sued over fatal Google Maps error after man drove off broken bridge

Despite correction requests, Google apparently provided drivers with the bridge path for years


The family of a man from North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against Google. Alleging that the company’s Maps programme caused him to drive off a bridge that had crumbled and fall nearly 20 feet to his death last year. According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Philip Paxson was following Google Maps directions as he returned from his daughter’s 9th birthday celebration late at night in September 2022. When the navigation system instructed him to cross a bridge that had collapsed years earlier and was neither marked or barricaded. Paxson drove off the unprotected edge of the bridge in Hickory, North Carolina, and drowned. According to the them, nearby residents raised worry that Google Maps had directed motorists over the bridge, which is believed to still be in need of repair.

Claims of Lawsuit

Despite the fact that the “Road Closed” signs and barriers were absent at the time of the accident. But images given by the legal firm show that they had been installed on either side of the bridge. According to the complaint, “Hickory resident Kim Ellis used the Google Maps ‘Suggest An Edit’ feature to notify the Google Maps. Defendants that the Snow Creek Bridge had washed away” in September 2020. The lawsuit stated that in November 2020, “Ellis again contacted the Google Maps Defendants via the ‘Suggest An Edit’ feature. Pleading for Google Maps to update its navigation system,” following Google’s failure to respond.

The lawsuit states that Ellis “was not the only citizen” and presents the confirmation emails she received from Google following both of her concerns.

Google’s Stance

Google hasn’t specifically addressed the charges about Maps, but it has stated that it is investigating the lawsuit. We send the Paxson family our sincere condolences. And we want to deliver accurate route information in Maps. Therefore we’re looking into this case, a Google spokeswoman told in a statement. We emailed the real estate development firm Hinckley Gauvain, and if we hear back, we’ll update this post. Google issued a statement expressing its “deepest sympathies for the Paxson family.” “We are looking into this lawsuit, and our goal is to provide accurate routing information in maps.” Co-defendants Tarde, LLC and Hinckley Gauvain, LLC have been contacted by CNN for comment.

Bridge Area

According to the lawsuit, Philip Paxson was unfamiliar with the area and was unaware that the bridge had collapsed. “Mr. Paxson was told to take the Snow Creek Bridge home by Google Maps. Unknown to Mr. Paxson, a sizable portion of the Snow Creek Bridge had fallen in 2013 and had never been fixed, according to the lawsuit. The region was completely dark around 11:00 p.m. because there was no artificial illumination.

Google’s parent firm, Alphabet, as well as two regional businesses in charge of maintaining the land and bridge are also parties to the legal action. The lawsuit claims that they were negligent and failed to maintain the bridge. And erect the necessary warning signs to keep passengers safe.



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