Struck Pedestrian Sues Google

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Personal accountability and good judgment could soon hit the skids if Lauren Rosenberg’s US lawsuit is successful.

The LA woman recently consulted Google Maps for directions in an unfamiliar city, via her Blackberry. Google’s directions in Park City, Utah, led her onto a busy highway where a motorist, Patrick Hardwood (apparently not a porn star), who Ms Rosenberg claims was speeding and not paying attention, struck her – only, possibly, not hard enough for the gene pool to benefit.

She is now suing Google and the driver of the car over the crash.

Don’t you reckon she’s at least partly to blame? If Google had told her to walk into a lake, and she’d drowned, whose fault would it be?

Basically, Ms Rosenberg says Google is responsible for putting her on the busy road in the first place. And, when you look at Google Maps’ directions on a full-size computer, the directions carry the following warning: “Use caution – this route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.” It’s not clear if the same (or similar) warning is displayed to users who access the same information via Blackberry.

The lawsuit alleges: "As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google's careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle."

Let’s just hope the lawsuit is defeated. Otherwise a tsunami of crackpot claims will ensue. I mean, while I’m all for protecting pedestrians, doesn’t anyone who is an adult bear some responsibility for judging the risk you face when you do something as basic as walk down the street? Isn’t proceeding into a dangerous situation a choice one can elect not to make? Would it be reasonable to sue Google for the burns you suffer if a web page tells you to put your damn head in a furnace?

The elephant in the room here? Who is the real idiot if your Navman or Tom Tom tells you to keep going – and you do, say over a cliff or onto a bridge that a flood has swept away – even though the evidence that the road ends in front of your own eyes is pretty much incontrovertible?