US woman sues Google 'after Maps directions caused accident'
An American woman, Lauren Rosenberg, is suing Google, the search engine giant, because she was hit by a car after following its "safe" online mapping service.
The Los Angeles-based woman, who is in her mid 20s, is claiming damages from the internet giant because she was injured while taking a “safe” route recommended by Google Maps.
According to her claim filed with the US District Court, she sustained injuries and “emotional suffering” from the January accident, which occurred after she following directions on her BlackBerry.
The woman, from Northridge, California, claimed she used Google Maps to chart an approximately two-mile (1.2 kilometer) course from one address to another in Park City, an upscale Utah ski town.
Google Maps instead led her to a four-lane highway without sidewalks that was "not reasonably safe for pedestrians”, according to her lawsuit.
The path also had cars speeding past her at unsafe speeds, her claim added.
The driver, Patrick Harwood, is also named in the suit, which was posted online by Search Engine Land blog.
"As a direct and proximate cause of... Google's careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions... Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer severe permanent physical, emotional and mental injuries," her statement read.
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.
But Allen Young, her lawyer, defended his client, saying that was not correct.
She believed she could reach a sidewalk on the other side of the highway and tried to cross the boulevard, but didn't 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, he added.
"Google failed to warn (Miss Rosenberg) of... known dangers and instead instructed her to use that dangerous path," he said.
"We think there's enough fault to go around, but Google had some responsibility to direct people correctly or warn them.
"They created a trap with walking instructions that people rely on. She relied on it and thought she should cross the street."
She is seeking compensation for medical bills, plus more for lost wages and punitive damages.
The lawsuit provided no other information about the woman, who has been misidentified online as a Los Angeles publicist by the same name.
A Google spokeswoman said the company had not received a copy of the lawsuit and couldn't discuss it.
She disputed Mr Young's assertion that Google Maps provided no warning that walking routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.
Every software version for desktop computers and mobile devices has had that disclaimer since Google Maps was launched in 2008, she said.
Google also pointed out that the directions Rosenberg sought come with a warning of caution for pedestrians.
But Miss Rosenberg’s claim said she accessed the function on her BlackBerry mobile device and because of its small screen, did not include the warning.
Local police said some segments of Deer Valley Drive had sidewalks but not the stretch that she reached.
The boulevard has a walking path on the side Rosenberg failed to reach, a local police spokesman said.
He said the walking path was "totally snowpacked" and of no use to pedestrians in January.
Miss Rosenberg was unavailable for comment.