Sunday 23 April 2017

Woman sues Google over directions

A woman in the US has filed a lawsuit against Google claiming it supplied unsafe directions
A woman in the US has filed a lawsuit against Google claiming it supplied unsafe directions

A pedestrian injured by a motorist while following an online route has filed a lawsuit claiming Google supplied unsafe directions.

Lauren Rosenberg filed a lawsuit seeking more than $100,000 (£68,000) in the US District Court in Utah. It also named a motorist she says hit her.

Ms Rosenberg used her phone in January to download directions from one end of Park City to the other. Google Maps led her to a four-lane street without footpaths that was "not reasonably safe for pedestrians," according to the lawsuit filed by the California resident.

The case has become a sensation on tech blogs, websites and cable television channels, with critics assailing the woman for ignoring her own safety to blindly follow online directions. Her lawyer Allen Young said the truth was different.

Ms Rosenberg believed she could reach a footpath on the other side of Deer Valley Drive and tried to cross the street, but did not even make it to the median, he said. She was struck by a speeding car on a pitch-black night and received multiple bone fractures that required six weeks of rehabilitation, Mr Young added.

"We think there's enough fault to go around, but Google had some responsibility to direct people correctly or warn them," Mr Young said. "They created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on. She relied on it and thought she should cross the street."

Ms Rosenberg is seeking compensation for medical bills, plus more for lost wages and punitive damages.

Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo said the company had not received a copy of the lawsuit and could not discuss it, but she disputed Mr Young's assertion that Google Maps provides no warning that walking routes may be missing footpaths or pedestrian areas. Every software version for desktop computers and mobile devices has had that disclaimer since Google Maps was launched in 2008, she said.

Park City police said some segments of Deer Valley Drive have footpaths but not the stretch that Rosenberg reached. The street has a walking path on the side Ms Rosenberg failed to reach, police said. Mr Young said the walking path was "totally snowpacked" and of no use to pedestrians in January.

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