Google facing new lawsuit claiming Google Maps led to man's death

Philip Paxson’s family says the company was warned its maps software was directing people over a bridge that had collapsed years earlier.
1:59 | 09/21/23

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Transcript for Google facing new lawsuit claiming Google Maps led to man's death
WELCOME BACK TO ABC NEWS LIVE. FIRST, GOOGLE IS FACING FIRST, GOOGLE IS FACING NEW LAWSUIT CLAIMING GOOGLE NEW LAWSUIT CLAIMING GOOGLE MAPS LED TO A MAN'S DEATH. MAPS LED TO A MAN'S DEATH. PHILIP PAXTON'S FAMILY SAYS PHILIP PAXTON'S FAMILY SAYS THE COMPANY WAS WARNED ITS THE COMPANY WAS WARNED ITS MAPS SOFTWARE WAS DIRECTING MAPS SOFTWARE WAS DIRECTING OVER A BRIDGE THAT HAD OVER A BRIDGE THAT HAD COLLAPSED YEARS EARLIER, COLLAPSED YEARS EARLIER, BUT NOTHING WAS DONE. BUT NOTHING WAS DONE. >> ABC'S ANDREW DYMBURT HAS >> ABC'S ANDREW DYMBURT HAS THE LATEST. THE LATEST. THE FAMILY OF A FATHER OF TWO THE FAMILY OF A FATHER OF TWO KILLED AFTER DRIVING OFF THIS KILLED AFTER DRIVING OFF THIS BRIDGE IS NOW SUING GOOGLE, BRIDGE IS NOW SUING GOOGLE, CLAIMING THE COMPANY'S APP CLAIMING THE COMPANY'S APP LED TO HIS DEATH. LED TO HIS DEATH. EVERYTHING THAT WE THOUGHT WAS EVERYTHING THAT WE THOUGHT WAS OUR FUTURE KIND OF JUST CHANGED OUR FUTURE KIND OF JUST CHANGED AND DISAPPEARED IN AN INSTANT. AND DISAPPEARED IN AN INSTANT. >> PHILIP PAXTON WAS HOME LATE >> PHILIP PAXTON WAS HOME LATE AT NIGHT FROM HIS DAUGHTER'S AT NIGHT FROM HIS DAUGHTER'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OUTSIDE BIRTHDAY PARTY OUTSIDE CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA. CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA. HIS FAMILY SAYS HE WAS HIS FAMILY SAYS HE WAS FOLLOWING A GOOGLE MAP ROUTE FOLLOWING A GOOGLE MAP ROUTE THAT LED HIM DOWN THIS ROAD THAT LED HIM DOWN THIS ROAD TO WHERE A BRIDGE HAD WASHED TO WHERE A BRIDGE HAD WASHED OUT NINE YEARS EARLIER. OUT NINE YEARS EARLIER. PAXTON'S CAR, AS IT FELL OFF PAXTON'S CAR, AS IT FELL OFF THE UNGUARDED EDGE OF THE THE UNGUARDED EDGE OF THE COLLAPSED BRIDGE, TRAPPING HIM COLLAPSED BRIDGE, TRAPPING HIM WHERE HE DROWNED. WHERE HE DROWNED. >> PHIL HAD NO IDEA THAT FOR >> PHIL HAD NO IDEA THAT FOR NINE YEARS THERE WAS A 20 FOOT NINE YEARS THERE WAS A 20 FOOT CANYON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CANYON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD IN MIDDLE OF A RESIDENTIAL ROAD IN MIDDLE OF A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. NEIGHBORHOOD. >> THIS IMAGE ALLEGEDLY, >> THIS IMAGE ALLEGEDLY, CAPTURED AFTER THE INCIDENT CAPTURED AFTER THE INCIDENT SHOWS THE ROUTE PAXTON'S FAMILY SHOWS THE ROUTE PAXTON'S FAMILY SAYS HE TOOK. SAYS HE TOOK. THE RED BOX SHOWS THE ROAD THE RED BOX SHOWS THE ROAD WITH THE COLLAPSED BRIDGE. WITH THE COLLAPSED BRIDGE. THE BLUE LINE DENOTES THE BLUE LINE DENOTES A PASSABLE ROAD. A PASSABLE ROAD. >> FOR YEARS, GOOGLE >> FOR YEARS, GOOGLE ATTEMPTED TO LEAD PEOPLE OVER ATTEMPTED TO LEAD PEOPLE OVER A COLLAPSED BRIDGE. A COLLAPSED BRIDGE. DESPITE BEING NOTIFIED BY USERS DESPITE BEING NOTIFIED BY USERS OF THIS EXACT DANGER, OF THIS EXACT DANGER, THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS IN THE YEARS THE LAWSUIT CLAIMS IN THE YEARS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT, MULTIPLE BEFORE THE ACCIDENT, MULTIPLE PEOPLE WROTE GOOGLE ABOUT THE PEOPLE WROTE GOOGLE ABOUT THE ERROR, BUT NOTHING WAS DONE. ERROR, BUT NOTHING WAS DONE. >> I WANT NEVER I MEAN TO BE >> I WANT NEVER I MEAN TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. HELD ACCOUNTABLE. AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST WE WANT AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS DOESN'T TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN TO ANYONE ELSE. HAPPEN TO ANYONE ELSE. >> IN RESPONSE, GOOGLE SAYING >> IN RESPONSE, GOOGLE SAYING WE HAVE THE DEEPEST SYMPATHIES WE HAVE THE DEEPEST SYMPATHIES FOR THE PAXTON FAMILY. FOR THE PAXTON FAMILY. OUR GOAL IS TO PROVIDE ACCURATE OUR GOAL IS TO PROVIDE ACCURATE INFORMATION IN MAPS. INFORMATION IN MAPS. >> AND WE ARE REVIEWING THIS >> AND WE ARE REVIEWING THIS LAWSUIT. LAWSUIT. OUR THANKS TO ANDREW DYMBURT OUR THANKS TO ANDREW DYMBURT FOR THAT STORY. FOR THAT STORY. ABC NEWS BRIAN BUCK MYERS NOW ABC NEWS BRIAN BUCK MYERS NOW HERE WITH MORE ON THE LEGAL HERE WITH MORE ON THE LEGAL SIDE OF THINGS. SIDE OF THINGS. BRIAN, HOW STRONG IS THIS BRIAN, HOW STRONG IS THIS FAMILY'S CASE? FAMILY'S CASE? >> THERE'S A NUMBER OF ASPECTS >> THERE'S A NUMBER OF ASPECTS THAT DOES MAKE IT A STRONG CASE THAT DOES MAKE IT A STRONG CASE AND I THINK MAYBE EVEN AND I THINK MAYBE EVEN A WINNABLE CASE. A WINNABLE CASE. THE FACT THAT GOOGLE WAS THE FACT THAT GOOGLE WAS ON NOTICE. ON NOTICE. THIS IS NOT A BRIDGE THAT WENT THIS IS NOT A BRIDGE THAT WENT OUT TWO WEEKS, TWO DAYS AGO. OUT TWO WEEKS, TWO DAYS AGO. THIS IS NINE YEARS. THIS IS NINE YEARS. AND THE EMAILS THAT THEY PUT AND THE EMAILS THAT THEY PUT IN THE COMPLAINT REALLY HELP IN THE COMPLAINT REALLY HELP OUT AND THE CONCEPT OUT AND THE CONCEPT OF NEGLIGENCE. OF NEGLIGENCE. IT'S WHEN THAT PERSON WHO TAKES IT'S WHEN THAT PERSON WHO TAKES WHAT A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD WHAT A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD UNDERSTAND TO BE AND THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND TO BE AND THEY DON'T FALL THAT LEVEL OF CARE. FALL THAT LEVEL OF CARE. SO IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE SO IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE THAT THEY COULD HAVE A STRONG THAT THEY COULD HAVE A STRONG CASE HERE. CASE HERE. >> IF YOU'RE A GOOGLE, HOW DO >> IF YOU'RE A GOOGLE, HOW DO YOU DEFEND AGAINST THESE YOU DEFEND AGAINST THESE ACCUSATIONS? ACCUSATIONS? IT'S A VERY LEGAL AND TECHNICAL IT'S A VERY LEGAL AND TECHNICAL ARGUMENT. ARGUMENT. BUT ONE THING THEY COULD SAY BUT ONE THING THEY COULD SAY IS, ONE, WE DON'T HAVE A DUTY IS, ONE, WE DON'T HAVE A DUTY TO YOU. TO YOU. THE DRIVER TO TELL YOU THAT THE DRIVER TO TELL YOU THAT A BRIDGE IS OUT. A BRIDGE IS OUT. GO, SUE, AS THESE PEOPLE HAVE GO, SUE, AS THESE PEOPLE HAVE DONE, THE PRIVATE OWNERS DONE, THE PRIVATE OWNERS OF THIS BRIDGE, BECAUSE THIS OF THIS BRIDGE, BECAUSE THIS BRIDGE IS NOT MAINTAINED BY THE BRIDGE IS NOT MAINTAINED BY THE CITY OR THE STATE, WHICH CITY OR THE STATE, WHICH IS MIND BOGGLING, BUT BY IS MIND BOGGLING, BUT BY PRIVATE ENTITIES THAT WENT WERE PRIVATE ENTITIES THAT WENT WERE DISBANDED NOW. DISBANDED NOW. SO THEY'RE GOING AFTER THEM. SO THEY'RE GOING AFTER THEM. THE OTHER ASPECT IS THE TYPE THE OTHER ASPECT IS THE TYPE OF NEGLIGENCE CLAIM IN THE OF NEGLIGENCE CLAIM IN THE STATE, NORTH CAROLINA. STATE, NORTH CAROLINA. MOST STATES HAVE WHAT'S CALLED MOST STATES HAVE WHAT'S CALLED A COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE CLAIM A COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE CLAIM WHERE YOU DID 60% AND I DID 40% WHERE YOU DID 60% AND I DID 40% OF THE FAULT. OF THE FAULT. I CAN SEE FOR THAT 60%. I CAN SEE FOR THAT 60%. BUT IN NORTH CAROLINA, BUT IN NORTH CAROLINA, IT'S CALLED A PIER CONTRIBUTORY IT'S CALLED A PIER CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE. NEGLIGENCE. MEANING IF I CAN PROVE THAT THE MEANING IF I CAN PROVE THAT THE DRIVER WAS LOOKING AT A PHONE, DRIVER WAS LOOKING AT A PHONE, MAYBE COMING FROM A PARTY OF A MAYBE COMING FROM A PARTY OF A NINE-YEAR-OLD, A LITTLE, NINE-YEAR-OLD, A LITTLE, AND HE'S EVEN 1% NEGLIGENT AND HE'S EVEN 1% NEGLIGENT IN WHAT HE DID IN DRIVING, IN WHAT HE DID IN DRIVING, THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO AVOID THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO AVOID LIABILITY ALTOGETHER. LIABILITY ALTOGETHER. INTERESTING. INTERESTING. WHAT WOULD THIS MEAN FOR FUTURE WHAT WOULD THIS MEAN FOR FUTURE CHANGES TO, THE GOOGLE SOFTWARE CHANGES TO, THE GOOGLE SOFTWARE AND OTHER POTENTIAL LAWSUITS IF AND OTHER POTENTIAL LAWSUITS IF FOUND LIABLE IN THIS CASE? FOUND LIABLE IN THIS CASE? AND THEY BETTER KEEP DILIGENT AND THEY BETTER KEEP DILIGENT AND GOOD AS TO WHAT ROADS AND GOOD AS TO WHAT ROADS ARE DRIVABLE AND WHAT ARE NOT. ARE DRIVABLE AND WHAT ARE NOT. IF THERE'S AN INSTANCE WHERE IF THERE'S AN INSTANCE WHERE THE SPEED COULD PROBABLY BE THE THE SPEED COULD PROBABLY BE THE BENCHMARK YOU'VE KNOWN FOR BENCHMARK YOU'VE KNOWN FOR NINE YEARS, YOU BETTER FIX NINE YEARS, YOU BETTER FIX SOMETHING AND THEY MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING AND THEY MIGHT HAVE TO UPDATE THEIR SYSTEMS AND LET TO UPDATE THEIR SYSTEMS AND LET CUSTOMERS

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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