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GPS and Legal Liability

As global positioning system (GPS) navigational devices grow more ubiquitous, so too does the potential for liability claims by those who rely on them, suggests Bingham McCutchen's Peter Neger in this recent article. Neger identifies several potential claims and predicts how they might be resolved. For example, in a recent case, a driver using the GPS system in a rental car found himself stuck on railroad tracks and in the path of an oncoming train because the GPS had directed him to travel across the tracks. Fortunately, the train slowed and avoided injury to the driver, but the rental car was damaged.  The driver was also cited for obstructing a railway crossing and the transportation authority has stated that it will hold the driver liable for damage to the train. The obvious question, of course, is whether the GPS manufacturer could face liability for the damage as well.  Neger explains that most GPS systems contain limited warranties and disclaimers which would insulate them from damages.  However, he adds that the effectiveness of any such limitations is ultimately a matter of state law, and may vary from state to state. 

Right now, there isn't any case law on liability arising out of GPS devices. But the article gives a good discussion of what we might expect if and when we head down the road of lawsuits against GPS manufacturers.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 5, 2008 at 03:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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