• http://twitter.com/MichelleObama7 Clifford Bryan

    This is a tough one. The disclaimer is rather vague in the web warning. The mobile version of Google maps “walking directions” had no warning. Of course the plaintiff is partially to blame I would think for not using good judgement. Would a “reasonable” person continue down this route? I think Google should pay her and then strengthen the wording on their warnings section. Maybe I’m biased, I got totally lost using Google maps the other day.

  • adamryp

    I don’t think this suit has any merit at all from a common sense standpoint. I think it should be considered common sense that you use tools like Google Maps to give you information, but that you are 100% responsible for any decisions that you make based on it.

    Based on what the lawyer said, the mistake in Google Maps didn’t really even matter. If Google had been correct and there HAD been a sidewalk on the other side of the road, she STILL would have crossed and gotten hit!

    What would be next? Suing when meteorologists make mistakes in forecasting the weather?

  • mellowmedia

    @Clifford Bryan I’m sorry, I totally disagree with your informed opinion.

    Why isn’t she suing the state for lack of a sidewalk, or poor street lighting?
    She clearly didn’t use common sense; a sensible person would take more precautions in an area they are not familiar with.

    Should I sue Google for RSI because they ‘created’ the search industry?

  • http://jeffsreviews.com jeffopus

    So if I ask a neighbor directions and get hit by a car following his directions I can sue them?
    Does anyone know where Steve Jobs Lives?

  • Biker-74

    Why not? If she can get Money from it, then why not try?

    Moral or responsibility has got nothing to do with it. Money does.


  • cas@wws

    Here’s the thing …. And they don’t seem to teach it anymore. But, it is a general “rule of the road” and it may even be on some state and local road regulations still.

    Back in the day when your parents, schools, and towns taught things like bicycle and pedestrian safety – the local police and my parents ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS told us kids to “walk against traffic” and “ride your bicycle with traffic.” I am absolutely amazed at how most people do not know this anymore.

    So, the fact that per the above article .. “Ironically, had Rosenberg not been directed to cross, she could have continued along the route walking against traffic but separated from it on a dirt path, Young said. That’s part of the reason for the suit claiming Google to be partially at fault.”

    While I really feel awful that this person was hit by a car — she was technically wrong — because you are always supposed to walk against traffic — unless there are sidewalks that indicate otherwise. This is so you can see when something is going to hit you rather than being surprised when it hits you from behind.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Did anyone ever successfully sue Rand-McNally for misdirecting them? It seems like most physical maps and their manufacturers could be liable as well if Google is here.

    Many times roads on physical maps are one-way but often that isn’t noted on the map. Is the map-maker at fault for someone turning the wrong way on a one-way street because the map didn’t warn them?

    I’m all for holding companies accountable when they screw-up, but this strikes me as ridiculous. I hope the judge tosses it before Google writes a check to make it go away. Sadly, juries tend to award damages to injured people regardless of the big company’s culpability.

  • http://walking.about.com walkingguide

    The screenshots of the Walking Directions she was following DID NOT tell her to cross the road. It said to turn left, that is all.

    By custom, we in the USA walk on the LEFT side of the road facing traffic when there isn’t a sidewalk. That would be the default I would assume from directions that didn’t tell me to cross the road.

    She took it upon herself to decide to cross the road in hopes that there was a sidewalk there. Google didn’t tell her to cross. Google didn’t say there was a sidewalk on the other side. If she had used the Street View that Google provides, she could have seen there was no sidewalk.

    She obviously didn’t give herself enough time to cross when there was traffic approaching, as she got struck while crossing the road. Even if there was a sidewalk on the other side, she probably still would have been struck.

    So — she walks at night on an unfamiliar route relying ONLY on directions that she misinterprets and reads things into that aren’t there. She doesn’t provide a reasonable timing to cross the road to get out of the way of traffic at an unlighted intersection where there is no painted crosswalk. And somebody ELSE is to blame?

    Even if Google provided comments to use caution, would she have?

  • http://infiniteinjury.org Peter Gerdes

    So I’m not even convinced that google has any duty of care to this person. I mean it seems to me the claim is that google failed to take the affirmitive action of also advising the users of it’s service when there would and would not be sidewalks. I don’t believe that google maps ever states there are sidewalks to it’s hard to see that there is any defect in the product (Tort law is quite clear that mere failure to warn of danger is not enough in the usual situation). Indeed, you can walk the way google suggested the lady walk nor did they make any promise about sidewalks upon which she relied. So maybe someone who is a lawyer can tell me if google even owes a duty of care in this case.

    Of course tort law has little to do with common sense or reasonable incentives. The fact that this kind of case isn’t immediately dismissed is a strike against our legal system. It shouldn’t matter that google gives you a suggestion about how to walk via a computer rather than by voice a reasonable person would still be aware that directions can be imperfect so short of *TRUE* negligence, like frequent warnings that these directions were causing risk, they *shouldn’t* be liable.

    The problem is that if you even let cases like this reach the jury it’s SOOO easy for the jury to say, “Sure I guess they are 1% responsible” since 1% is low even if this means the company ends up paying huge bills (and other defendants declare bankruptcy). Tort law is complex and technical and when faced with that kind of technical law juries tend to be moved by their sympathies.

    I think that company to be found negligent the jury should have to find particular individuals at the company negligent and be fined (say a percent of damages the company pays up to $10,000 or something). Sure many companies might indemnify their employees but that doesn’t matter. The point is that in order for a jury to say that particular behavior was negligently harmful they should have to point their finger and say one of YOU seven people who approved the design and specified the ad language should have acted differently.

    I mean if everyone in the company behaved reasonably it shouldn’t be possible for the company to have been negligent. There is also a place for torts as a tool to encourage safety but those torts should be introduced by specific legislative action that say tells car makers they can be sued if their car is determined to handle unsafely.