Google Failed to Warn Woman Not to Walk into Oncoming Traffic

McDonald’s hot coffee suit, take 2? A California woman blindly followed Google Maps walking directions on her Blackberry, walking directly into oncoming traffic on a four-lane highway where she was struck by an approaching vehicle. She filed suit against Google, in which she seeks actual damages in excess of $100,000, punitive damages, and compensation for lost wages, although she reportedly is unemployed.

Her attorney, Allen K. Young, has tried to justify his client’s actions with the argument that the Plaintiff was walking in an area she had never been before, and at a time when it was “pitch black” outside. As if this somehow diminishes her own negligence. Young argues that Google failed to warn the Plaintiff that walking routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths. This failure-to-warn claim has been flatly disputed by Google, which has said every software version for mobile devices has had that disclaimer since Google Maps was launched in 2008.

The crux of the Plaintiff’s lawsuit appears to be that the woman crossed the road believing there to be a sidewalk on the other side. According to her lawyer, on the other side of the road was a “totally snowpacked” walkway that was of no use to pedestrians. Irrespective of the existence and condition of the walkway on the other side of the road, the woman, according to her own lawyer, didn’t even make it to the median! She wasn’t half-way across the street before she walked directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Although Young has said that there is “enough fault to go around,” which presumably means he recognizes his client is at least partially responsible for her injuries, the absurdity of some liability arguments, and extent some will go to shift blame, continues to surprise.

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