A female pedestrian has filed suit against Google (PDF link) after she was hit by a car in Utah while following Google Maps directions on her mobile phone.
The Californian woman, Lauren Rosenberg, was following directions to Park City Utah on Google Maps, that eventually led her to a four lane street without a sidewalk on her side. Although it was pitch black, Ms Rosenberg believed she could reach the snow-packed sidewalk on the other side of the street and tried to cross. Before she even reached the median, she was struck by a speeding car and received multiple fractures, requiring her hospitalization and weeks of intensive rehabilitation.
Ms Rosenberg is suing Google for the cost of her medical bills (totalling over $100K), plus loss of earnings and punitive damages. She is also suing the driver of the car that hit her. Ms Rosenberg and her lawyer Allen Young allege that the search giant failed to supply adequate warnings to pedestrians and instead supplied unsafe walking directions.
It’s unclear yet what sort of case Ms Rosenberg will have against Google, but it’s interesting to note that Google’s walking directions are still in BETA and pedestrian warnings are apparently not visible on cell phones or PDAs, only on the desktop versions of Google Maps.
As first covered by Danny Sullivan:
OMG make you wonder. If there was a hole in the road would she have walked round it or jumped in. My satnav tells me to go straight on, however if it’s a crossroads, or junction etc I do at least check for traffic first. Look forward to hearing how that one goes…
My understanding from reading a lot on this story is that in the state that she has filed the complaint in, the jury can award proprotional damages — so she may be hled 85% responsible and the driver 10% and Google 5% …. but if she gets awarded millions, then Google’s 5% of that payout will be a lot.