A North Carolina man named Philip Paxson died in September 2022 from a car accident caused by a Google Maps error. The GPS application failed to update users about a bridge that collapsed in 2013.
Despite multiple complaints from other users about the collapsed bridge, Google failed to update its maps to include information about it. After driving from his daughter’s ninth birthday party, Mr. Paxson drove over the collapsed bridge, passing away from a crash into Snow Creek.
Philip Paxson’s family has filed a lawsuit alleging Google’s negligence led to his death. In their court filings, the plaintiffs allege other users notified Google about the collapsed bridge. Google’s failure to update its map was a negligent action that led to Philip Paxson’s death.
Missing Information on Google Maps Leads to North Carolina Man’s Death
A resident from North Carolina suffered a wrongful death in 2022 because Google Maps failed to account for a collapsed bridge. Philip Paxson, a North Carolina medical device salesman, drowned on September 30th, 2022, when he drove unknowingly over a collapsed bridge.
The father of two was driving from his daughter’s ninth birthday party when he had to go through an unfamiliar area. Philip Paxson’s drive took him to Snow Creek in Hickory, where a bridge had collapsed in 2013. However, Google Maps failed to notify him of this collapsed bridge, and he drove 20 feet into Snow Creek.
The state troopers who found Mr. Paxson’s body stated his Jeep Gladiator was partially submerged in the water in Snow Creek. There were no signs or barriers to prevent someone from driving into the creek. Mr. Paxson drove off the unguarded edge, crashed his car 20 feet below, and drowned.
Why Had the Bridge Not Been Repaired Since Its Collapse in 2013?
The bridge over Snow Creek collapsed in 2013, but why was the bridge not repaired to prevent a catastrophic car accident like Philip Paxson suffered? According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, local and state officials did not maintain the bridge.
The bridge was maintained by another developer, which dissolved by the time of the 2013 partial collapse. No private developers took on the responsibility of repairing the bridge, leaving the dangerous road hazard unfixed for nearly a decade.
Robert Zimmerman, the Paxson family’s attorney, suggested that residents attempted to have the bridge fixed. “For years before this tragedy, Hickory residents asked for the road to be fixed or properly barricaded before someone was hurt or killed. Their demands went unanswered.”
Did Google Know About the Collapsed Bridge?
Google Maps did not include any information about the collapsed bridge over Snow Creek. According to the Paxson family’s lawsuit filing, multiple residents had notified Google about the collapsed bridge, but the tech company failed to update their GPS app.
The lawsuit filing includes e-mail records from a local resident who took advantage of Google Maps’ “suggest and edit” feature to notify Google about the collapsed bridge in September 2020. Google sent a confirmation e-mail in November 2020 to the Hickory residents, notifying them they would review their suggested change.
Philip Paxson’s Family Attempts to Hold Google Accountable for Negligence
Despite receiving information about the Snow Creek collapsed bridge, Google did not properly update Google Maps to notify users of the collapsed bridge. The Paxson family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Google for their negligence in causing Philip Paxson’s death.
The lawsuit claims that Google Maps continued to direct users over the bridge despite the fact that it had collapsed. Failing to update the application after receiving information about the collapsed bridge is negligent behavior that caused Philip Paxson’s wrongful death.
The Paxson family has also filed a lawsuit with Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and two local companies they claim were responsible for maintaining the bridge. They allege these companies were negligent in failing to repair the bridge and put up barricades and warning signs to prevent people from driving into Snow Creek.
Damages Caused by Wrongful Death
Those whose family members suffer a wrongful death, much like Philip Paxson’s family, can file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for damages. A negligent party that caused the personal injury accident that caused their death can be held liable for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those with a bill or financial value attached to them. Non-economic damages are those affecting the quality of life of the deceased’s family. A wrongful death lawyer can help you calculate the total value of your family’s damages.
The following are some damages a family can pursue in a wrongful death claim:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Funeral and burial costs
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental services
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help With a Family’s Claim?
Family members can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one dies because of the negligence of another party. In the case of the Paxson family, Google’s negligence in failing to update their maps application caused the wrongful death in their family.
You should hire a wrongful death lawyer to help you hold at-fault parties accountable for their negligence in causing your loved one’s death. They can advise you on the best steps to take in a wrongful death claim process based on their vast experience and expertise.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim
At The Russo Firm, our wrongful death lawyers have decades of experience helping victims of wrongful death from motor vehicle accidents, dangerous products, and Camp Lejeune toxic water. They can use their experience to inform your personalized legal counsel plan.
Our experienced wrongful death lawyers can calculate your family’s damages, determine who caused the wrongful death, gather evidence, and negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurer. Contact us for a free wrongful death case evaluation today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.