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$________ GROSS Municipal liability - Motor vehicle negligence - Auto/pedestrian collision - Negligent operation of city garbage truck - Wrongful death at age 73 - 50% comparative negligence found.

Miami-Dade County, FL

The plaintiffs’ decedent was a 73-year-old female, who was on her way to work in the predawn hours of ________, when she was struck and killed by a garbage truck operated by the defendant, City of North Miami Beach. The defendant argued that its employee could not avoid the accident after the decedent stepped into the path of the oncoming garbage truck.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s truck driver was talking to a passenger in the garbage truck and was not paying attention when he struck the decedent. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that, with the truck’s headlights and ambient lighting, the defendant’s driver could have observed the decedent and avoided the impact. Testimony indicated that the driver did not realize he had struck the decedent until he heard the thump and the truck’s wheels rolled over her body.

The decedent was employed as a janitor and house-cleaner on weekends. She was survived by three adult children.

The defendant’s truck driver, as well as the passenger in the garbage truck, testified that the decedent was not in a crosswalk, came from nowhere and was not visible before the impact. The defendant contended that the decedent stepped in front of the truck and the defendant’s driver could do nothing to avoid the impact.

The jury found the defendant 50% negligent and the decedent 50% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ which was reduced accordingly. Costs were also added to the plaintiff’s award. The defendant offered $________ to settle the case prior to trial.

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