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Pedestrian Follows Google Map, Gets Run Over, Sues 699

Posted by Soulskill
from the america-amazes-me-sometimes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Toronto Star reports that a Utah woman is suing Google for more than $100,000 in damages, claiming its maps function gave her walking directions that led her onto a major highway, where she was struck by a car. Lauren Rosenberg sought directions between two addresses in Utah about 3 kilometers apart and the top result suggested that she follow a busy rural highway for several hundred meters. The highway did not have sidewalks or any other pedestrian-friendly amenities, and Rosenberg was struck by a car. Rosenberg filed suit against both the driver of the car that struck her and Google, claiming both carried responsibility in her injury. Her lawyers claim Google is liable because it did not warn her that the route would not offer a safe place for a pedestrian to walk. Google has pointed out that the directions Rosenberg sought come with a warning of caution for pedestrians, but Rosenberg claims that she accessed the Maps function on her Blackberry mobile device, where it did not include the warning."
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Pedestrian Follows Google Map, Gets Run Over, Sues

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  • For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by millennial (830897) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409488) Journal
    People walk on busy highways without sidewalks and think they're going to be perfectly safe? Why on earth would a thinking person even consider going by that route?
    • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snowraver1 (1052510) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:27PM (#32409608)
      I would take that route if is saved me time. I would also be cautious and watch for traffic. People walk along highways all the time without incident, she was either inattentive or unlucky.

      Should google have to write warnings for all dangers? WARNING: You are about to cross the road. Our records show that this intersection has a crosswalk. Please wiat until the red hand turns into a white funny-looking guy before proceeding. Be sure to check both ways for traffic before stepping onto the road. Be aware that there may be other pedestrians crossing the road. Be sure not to collide with them. Caution! Be aware that there may be open manholes! DO NOT step on a manhole that has it's cover removed. For a full list of applicable warnings, please go to www.google.ca/pleasetiemyshoes/
      • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:29PM (#32409636)
        Yes, it's absurd. But remember, she hasn't won anything yet, just filed a suit. And anybody can file a suit claiming almost anything. I think I will save my vitriol for the legal system until/if she wins.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          It's irrelevant whether she wins. The defendant has already lost - legal fees will cost them double the damages claimed if they fight the case.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by LifesABeach (234436)
            Wouldn't a reasonable, and prudent person be careful around moving cars? I'm thinking that the Plaintiff ignored the Pedestrian Walkway, why? I've used Google's maps and directions, I have never read anywhere that my other choices could not be considered. Couldn't a Cross Complaint [google.com] be filed? And another question that keeps popping up in my mind is the plaintiffs attorney. Sometimes the restituion does not go to the plaintiff, but to someone else.

            But I think my concerns with Google and their "corporate
          • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:48PM (#32410590)
            Not in this case. Since the defendant (Google) most likely has a well-staffed legal department, it's sunk cost. They'll have to shell out for the court fees, but the people are already paid for (unlike smaller defendants, who would have to shell out for a lawyer or two for their case).
          • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cyn1c77 (928549) on Monday May 31, 2010 @07:36PM (#32412354)

            It's irrelevant whether she wins. The defendant has already lost - legal fees will cost them double the damages claimed if they fight the case.

            Actually, who wins will be quite relevant. Even if Google spends $1M winning this case, they will have precedent that they do not need an idiot warning at the start of their Google Maps app. This will keep other morons from suing them for similar mental failures.

          • by c6gunner (950153)

            It's irrelevant whether she wins. The defendant has already lost - legal fees will cost them double the damages claimed if they fight the case.

            The suit is silly enough that they could just hire a temp for $8 an hour, buy him a suit, and sent him to sit in the courtroom and wait until the case is dismissed.

        • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:53PM (#32409950) Homepage

          The absurd part is that Google is now obligated to expend resources to answer this groundless suit. Even in winning, they'll lose.

        • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by X0563511 (793323) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:56PM (#32409974) Homepage Journal

          I don't think Google has any fault here... however she was on a highway as a pedestrian (which is almost always prohibited... for a reason).

          The motorist though... they might. It depends on a lot of things. Was she in the shoulder (was there one?)? Unless it was an emergency, the driver should NOT have been in that shoulder. If there was none, then she was in the right of way. Whether the driver has any fault now depends on a lot of things.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fustakrakich (1673220)

          Spare no vitriol for the judge if he/she doesn't immediately dismiss this as frivolous, and fines the bitch a few grand for wasting the court's time.

        • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:32PM (#32410440) Homepage
          Can't a lawsuit be dismissed on basis of being... well... absurd ?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Angst Badger (8636)

          But remember, she hasn't won anything yet, just filed a suit.

          True indeed. And I hope it's rapidly laughed out of the courts before it becomes a prop for opportunistic politicians pursuing tort "reform".

          Stuff like this drives me nuts because, out of the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of lawsuits filed every year, most involve legitimate grievances (or are quickly dismissed), and most of them are settled out of court for reasonable amounts. A tiny proportion -- the handful we hear about every year -- involve ridiculous claims accompanied by ridiculous awards, usually de

        • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sycodon (149926) on Monday May 31, 2010 @10:35PM (#32413736)

          Too bad she didn't die. It would have contributed to the health of the gene pool.

      • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Spatial (1235392) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:44PM (#32409822)
        Warning: Breathe regularly to prevent asphyxiation.

        Caution: If you are undergoing fluid immersion, avoid breathing temporarily to avoid drowning.
      • by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:06PM (#32410132) Homepage

        blockquote)Should google have to write warnings for all dangers? WARNING: You are about to cross the road. Our records show that this intersection has a crosswalk. Please wiat until the red hand turns into a white funny-looking guy before proceeding. Be sure to check both ways for traffic before stepping onto the road. Be aware that there may be other pedestrians crossing the road. Be sure not to collide with them. Caution! Be aware that there may be open manholes! DO NOT step on a manhole that has it's cover removed. For a full list of applicable warnings, please go to www.google.ca/pleasetiemyshoes//blockquote)

        That's even worse. Providing such explicit instructions would be cannon fodder for a attorney. The mantra "Less is more" comes to mind.

        Simply saying something to the effect 'These directions are provided as a courtesy. The user is fully responsible for their personal safety while using said directions. By using the directions you absolve yadda, yadda, yadda....

        In short, this woman, in my humble opinion, should remove herself from the gene-pool.

      • Re:For serious? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday May 31, 2010 @05:11PM (#32410886)
        Google DOES warn of dangers. The defendant claims...

        Rosenberg claims that she accessed the Maps function on her Blackberry mobile device, where it did not include the warning.

        Which is utter bull, I have google maps 3.2.1 on my blackberry and it certainly DOES warn you of dangers while following their directions. You also have to agree to a EULA when you launch it for the first time, which I imagine disclaims any liability.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 31, 2010 @06:10PM (#32411606) Journal
        When you close the browser window it should simply say:

        WARNING: Leaving the computer may cause you to encounter the real world (beta). This contains myriad dangers. If you are unsure how to proceed, please go to bed and hide under your duvet.

    • by skids (119237)

      Well, if you're in California you do it because there are no safe pedestrian routes, period.

      But in Utah? Actually, frankly I'm surprised there are ever enough people in one place at the same time in Utah for any accidents to happen there.

    • by illumnatLA (820383) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:33PM (#32409690) Homepage

      Really... jeeze... What ever happened to common sense. If it looks dangerous... it probably is. If her Blackberry told her to insert her arm into an industrial shredder would she have done that as well?

      Take a look at this... this is the road in question... [google.com] There was plenty of room on the left side of the street to walk without being anywhere near the road.

      I really hope this gets thrown out of court. People need to take responsibility for their own stupidity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        LOL! What a greedy AND stupid bitch.

        Quick someone text her instructions on how to breath water - you'll do the world a big favor.

        • by vlm (69642) on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:28PM (#32410374)

          LOL! What a greedy AND stupid bitch.

          Its important to determine if SHE filed suit or if her medical insurer filed suit on her behalf to recover costs.

          I have never personally filed a lawsuit against anyone, but both my wife and I have, in separate accidents, had our cars hit by uninsured drivers (thankfully no injuries) and both times the insurance company filed suit on our behalf to recover the money they paid to repair / replace our cars using our collision policy. For the accident 7 years ago, it took like 3 years but they finally recovered all their costs and reimbursed us our deductible, and the other accident a couple months ago is still ongoing. I would expect automotive medical claims to work the same way...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by binkzz (779594)

        Really... jeeze... What ever happened to common sense.

        It got overridden by greed and narcissism.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:25PM (#32410346)

        "Take a look at this... this is the road in question... [google.com] There was plenty of room on the left side of the street to walk without being anywhere near the road."

        It's much worse than that. There's a walking/cycling trail that parallels most of her route, if the route indicated on the map is correct. Take a look [google.com]. In many cases it was only a few steps from the road. She could SEE a safe, non-car route paralleling hers, but did not avail herself of it. From the described route, she walked right past the entrance to the trail [google.com] and stayed on the road. She took the "industrial shredder" option by following the blue line instead. Maybe you could fault Google for not pointing out the trail, but it was RIGHT THERE in plain sight. No, I'll stay on the busy road with no sidewalk.

        I'm sure the locals and the municipality are saying "Why the !#%!%$! did we build these stupid trails if people aren't going to use them?"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sco08y (615665)

          I'm sure the locals and the municipality are saying "Why the !#%!%$! did we build these stupid trails if people aren't going to use them?"

          I know this taxpayer is saying, "why can't our idiot local governments publish their routes so Google, Garmin, etc. can include them in their databases?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Reece400 (584378)
        Yup, calling that a highway is generous, I walk on roads like that regularly and haven't had any issues. Maybe she was reading the directions off the blackberry and walked in to traffic? I'm surprised she's not suing RIM as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GrumblyStuff (870046)

      It'd be interesting to see if that was the only available route bar some huge detour. I've been around parts of town where the only roads are four lane, 45 MPH with few, if any, lights. Maybe she should sue the city/county/state for not providing pedestrian-safe routes?

      Upon RTFA, they have a link to the route she took [google.com]. I was hesitant to jump on the "stupid bitch" bandwagon but there's multiple roads running parallel. Stupid bitch needs to use her god damn brain.

  • Um. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409490)
    Who's fault is it when you're walking on a highway?
    • Re:Um. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:23PM (#32409562)

      In my opinion she has the right to be refunded all the money she paid for using google maps.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Exactly. How is this any different than Google suggesting I use a crosswalk and getting hit?

      The driver is the only one at fault. Highway driving or not, you are supposed to be watching out for pedestrians (hikers, cyclists, etc).

      However, she should lose the case for either stupidity or greed, whichever is driving her to sue the big company.

      • Re:Um. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lorenlal (164133) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:40PM (#32409778)

        I'm not willing to say that the driver is the only one at fault. If she's absent minded enough to follow her blackberry for walking directions onto a highway and realize there's an increased risk for doing so after the fact... I don't doubt she could have taken a few steps right in front of the car at the wrong time either.

        But, in all likelihood, yes... The driver wasn't paying attention. This should be an insurance + local law enforcement matter. Google shouldn't be involved whatsoever.

    • Re:Um. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Interoperable (1651953) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:33PM (#32409682)

      Looks to me like it's RIM's fault.

      Rosenberg claims that she accessed the Maps function on her Blackberry mobile device, where it did not include the warning.

      I'd say it's time to fire the lawyers who forgot to sue RIM and then use new lawyers to sue the lawyers whose mistake it was.

  • is she f&#%^g blind, just stupid or what. If you don't feel safe walking some place, DON'T WALK THERE!
  • So.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409496) Homepage Journal

    No personal responsibility at all involved here? I can see how the driver is liable, but Google? Psht.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by frozentier (1542099)
      IS the driver liable if she's just walking aimlessly down a highway? Where I'm from, it's actually illegal to walk down a highway with no sidewalk.
      • by zill (1690130)
        Exactly.

        I'm not saying she should be immediately arrested but at least she should be charged with a criminal offense.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeremy Erwin (2054)

        I hope that your locale actually builds sidewalks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Where I am the major highways only run to areas that are far enough apart that you couldn't really walk along a highway to any meaningful destination. It is very much illegal to walk or ride a bike on them.

    • Re:So.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:24PM (#32409578)

      Her father is the one responsible. He pulled out too late.

  • Nobody's perfect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frozentier (1542099) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409500)
    Nobody's perfect, lady, including Google. Maybe Google should sue you for not having the sense to stay out of the road.
  • good thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by ionix5891 (1228718) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409502)

    she didnt press "im feeling lucky" button so

  • by ClippyHater (638515) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:18PM (#32409508) Journal
    If he'd have done his job we wouldn't have to suffer through this kind of crap.
  • Sheesh, not sure if following the stupid directions, or suing everything in sight after wards is the worse offense.

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      She should also hit the IETF, IEEE, and her ISP. I'm sure a Sisco router routed this dangerous information at some point too.

  • by v1 (525388) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:19PM (#32409512) Homepage Journal

    but sooo close. maybe next time. Please try again!

    My mom taught me not to walk/play in traffic when I was four. Maybe this gal should sue her parents too?

  • I'm suing Black Berry as well. It told me to take a right and I drove into a lake.
  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Woman needs to learn how to walk down the road. I'm a college student. I'm poor. I walk down major highways all the time and voila, I don't get hit by a car. I see people do it all the time, and voila, they don't get hit by a car.

    I think this woman was just stupid and wanted someone to blame for her own ignorance.

  • "If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster."

    *And Happy Birthday, Clint!

  • stupid people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:23PM (#32409550)
    They're everywhere, and not enough of them are getting Darwin Awards even when they deserve them.

    Now I'll admit it's terrible that she got hurt, but let's face it, how stupid could she be to blindly follow a map into traffic?
    What if a fire had engulfed the area, would she have walked into that just because a map shows that as a viable route?
    I don't know about you, but I tend to avoid getting in the way of high speed multi-ton solid objects, I understand about inertia and kinetic impacts.

    Guess she should sue her parents for neglecting to teach her not to walk on roads with traffic. Or perhaps for not making sure her, as an adult, didn't do something so stupid, and then have the audacity to blame someone else for her death-wish activities.
  • Empathy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unoti (731964) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:23PM (#32409566) Journal
    My thoughts on this article were influenced by my low empathy score.
  • Oh Ya... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:23PM (#32409568) Journal

    Seriously and probably incurably retarded person gets injured through own sheer stupidity and wants others to pay. Lawyers will make a bundle. News at 11.

  • $100,000 lawsuit is pretty cheap these days....

    That's probably less then 3 billable days for google lawyers.

  • sheeshhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grub (11606)


    What the fuck is the world coming to?

    .
  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Monday May 31, 2010 @03:29PM (#32409634)

    Lauren Rosenberg sought directions between two addresses in Utah about 3 kilometers apart and the top result suggested that she follow a busy rural highway for several hundred meters.

    There are no kilometers in Utah.

  • People like this should be sent away, far far away and they dilute the gene pool.

  • Perhaps I should make the subject "Common sense absent"? Am I the only person left on the planet who can assess a situation and determine whether it's safe or not, and take appropriate actions to safeguard myself? On second thought I call bullshit; I cannot believe anyone is so stupid as this, this woman must be looking for a payday.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by DaMattster (977781)

      Perhaps I should make the subject "Common sense absent"? Am I the only person left on the planet who can assess a situation and determine whether it's safe or not, and take appropriate actions to safeguard myself? On second thought I call bullshit; I cannot believe anyone is so stupid as this, this woman must be looking for a payday.

      Could not have said it better myself. A woman, ostensibly this means she is an adult, should have been able to make a judgement call based on her surroundings. Should Google really be responsible for this? NO

  • xkcd? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kav2k (1545689)
    Obligatory reference [xkcd.com].
  • The same thing happened to me, but I turned around and found another way without Google's help.

    What makes this a problem in my mind is that Google Maps doesn't offer a "detour me" feature that allows you to easily avoid specified nodes in the commute graph. My Garmin GPS had this feature and driving all over the Western half of the US for many months I can tell you it was an indispensable feature.

    A good detour feature is a really necessary feature in an emergency situation. As we become more dependent on th

  • Guess they better remove the kayak across the pacific in some directions before someone does it. And can I sue Google if the directions they give me result in me getting in a car accident? After all I wouldn't have been on that road if Google didn't tell me too.

    Also, while I'm at it, I cut myself with a knife at a restaurant that came up on a Google search, so I'll hit them with that suit as well. At the same time I hit them for sending me to a seafood place with my shellfish allergies.

    But it's not just

  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:05PM (#32410102)

    Seriously. Where's a speeding, out-of-control Michael Bay-style 18-wheeler loaded with gasoline and hand grenades that's already on fire when you need one? I think Google's entire response should be a photocopy of an enormous erect penis that just says "suck it" at the bottom.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday May 31, 2010 @04:11PM (#32410190) Journal

    clearly he wasn't driving fast enough, and apparently his aim isn't so good either..

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