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San Diego Pays $950k to Victim Injured in City Water Truck Crash

October 10, 2014

San Diego City Council members approved a $950,000 settlement Oct. 7 with a 30-year-old man who suffered long-term injuries in a collision with a city vehicle two years ago.

In June 2012, James Heath suffered neck and arm injuries when a city water truck driven by employee John Romero collided with his sport utility vehicle in San Carlos. Romero was conducting business for the Public Utilities Department at the time of the crash. According to Heath, Romero drifted from one lane into another and collided with him, reported U-T San Diego.

Heath sued the city in December 2012. The settlement comes five months after a jury said Heath should get $1.3 million for pain, suffering and previous and future medical expenses. Council members voted in June to appeal that judgment and seek a new trial, but recently agreed in a session closed to the public to end the litigation with a settlement.

The settlement requires the city to pay Heath $97,000 immediately and then fund an annuity that will give him more than $1,300 per month through late 2025. In addition, he’s scheduled to receive $20,000 per year from 2027 through 2030. The payout also includes $153,000 in attorney’s fees and payments to several doctors who have examined and treated Heath.

The money will come from the city’s water reserves, Water Utility Operating Fund 700011.

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