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ARTICLE ID 201703

$________ GROSS – LANDSCAPING NEGLIGENCE– DECEDENT RIDES BICYCLE INTO BACK OF STOPPED LANDSCAPING VEHICLE – NEGLIGENT BLOCKING OF BICYCLE LANE – WRONGFUL DEATH OF 60-YEAR-OLD PHYSICIAN – 70% COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE FOUND.

Broward County, FL

The plaintiff’s decedent was a 60-year-old practicing family physician who was an avid bicyclist. He was riding a racing bike along 172nd Avenue in Miramar, Florida when he sustained fatal head injuries after striking the back of the defendant’s parked landscaping vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s employees caused the death by negligently parking the vehicle so as to block the bicycle lane. The defendant contended that the landscaping vehicle was parked lawfully and properly, was readily visible to the decedent and that the collision was caused by the decedent’s own negligence.

Evidence established that the decedent rode his bicycle along the same Miramar route on a regular basis. On August 11, ________, he was completing the last stretch of a 30-mile ride along 172nd Avenue at 12:30 p.m. and was wearing a helmet. The plaintiff claimed the defendant’s landscaping truck was illegally parked across the bicycle lane and that the defendant’s workers were sitting on the grass eating lunch when the decedent’s bicycle struck the back of the truck.

The plaintiff argued that the truck was parked underneath a tree that cast a shadow over it and that the vehicle’s dark frame and the foliage inside the truck caused it to blend in with the tree, making it difficult to see. The plaintiff also contended there were no traffic cones or other warning of the presence of the truck. The decedent died as a result of a massive head injury sustained in the collision.

The defendant argued that the decedent rode his bicycle for approximately ________ feet on a straight road, in afternoon daylight and with an unobstructed view, directly into the back of the defendant’s parked landscaping vehicle. The defense maintained that the truck was readily visible and could have been easily avoided by the decedent. In addition, the defense contended that the landscaping vehicle was not parked in a bicycle lane and the defendant breached no duty to the decedent. According to the defense, the statutorily-required road markings and signage to create a bicycle lane were not present at the scene. The defendant argued that the line separating street from the sidewalk, which may have appeared to create a lane, was actually a fog line and not a legal bicycle lane. The defendant’s employees reasonably parked the vehicle in a manner necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic as they attempted to maneuver wheelbarrows back and forth across the road, according to the defense.The jury found that the defendant was 30% negligent and the decedent 70% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages, reduced to a net award of $________. The defendant successfully moved to apply set-offs of $________ in PIP and $________ medical bill adjustments. The defendant has also filed a renewed post-trial motion for directed verdict. The plaintiff has filed an appeal of the final judgment.

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