$1 Million Policy-Limit Wrongful Death Settlement in Truck-Motorcycle Collision

Partners Richard Pullano and Mathew Siporin achieved a $1 million settlement for the family of a deceased 21-year-old man, Joseph Farbo, whose motorcycle slammed into the side of a landscaping truck that had just pulled out of a service driveway, near the top of a hill in a residential area, split seconds before the crash.

The landscaping company insisted that this young man was a majority at-fault and refused to settle for years. Numerous depositions proceeded, including the driver, multiple landscaping co-workers, and accident reconstruction experts. The defendant truck driver claimed he stopped and looked both ways just before entering the intersection. But by inspecting the landscaping truck and obtaining its “black box” that recorded the incident, we were able to demonstrate otherwise, and the company ultimately settled for its $1 million insurance policy limit.

“When they’re negligent, wrongdoers often tell you what they should have done,” Pullano said. “We had enough objective evidence to prove that what the driver was telling us – that he stopped and looked both ways – was what he should have done, and not what he actually did. The data showed that the driver never stopped at all before pulling right into oncoming traffic.  We knew once we got our accident reconstruction consultant on board that we were on the right side of the facts, and that we would fight to obtain justice for this family.”

In its response to our lawsuit, the trucking company claimed that its driver had come to a complete stop for five seconds, looked in both directions, didn’t see anybody coming, and pulled out slowly; they also alleged that Mr. Farbo had been speeding and driving without a helmet while doing so. Many times, a family that is grieving the loss of a loved one will choose not to continue pursuing a lawsuit when an insurance company makes inflammatory claims like this.  However, our clients had the strength and fortitude to continue seeking justice for their son and brother.

Shortly after the crash occurred, we retained our accident reconstruction expert, who thoroughly inspected the scene and vehicles and obtained the black box data records, which detail the movement of the truck several seconds before and after an impact like this one. As a result, a true expert can interpret the data and show whether the defendant is telling the truth.

Our expert was able to demonstrate that the truck driver had rolled through the intersection without coming to a complete stop, that Mr. Farbo hadn’t been going as fast as the driver claimed, that he had no time to maneuver out of the way, and that if the driver had stopped like he claimed he did, the motorcycle would have cleared the intersection and no crash would have occurred.

A triplet who had just turned 21, Mr. Farbo left behind not only his same-age brothers but also his parents, two sisters, two stepbrothers, a plethora of friends, and the coaches and children whom he volunteered to teach how to wrestle, one of his life’s passions. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Pullano said.

“His siblings told us about how their brother was the one that kept everything moving, in terms of love, and interaction, and social events,” Pullano added. “He kissed his mom good night every night. If he found out she needed anything, he’d get it for her even though he did not make a lot of money.”

In addition to his family, Mr. Farbo loved wrestling. Even after graduating high school, he volunteered with his grade-school coach to help with the team. He was an unpaid assistant, but his goal was to become considered part of the official coaching staff, so he could take the bus to tournaments. “That shows how much he cared about the kids,” Pullano said. “He had wonderful mentors and wanted to mentor kids just the same way. It’s a heartbreaking loss for this family and the community at large.”

After hearing repeatedly that their son had been at fault in his own death, Mr. Farbo’s family has gained more from the settlement than the monetary award. “The family felt from the beginning that people were saying their son was at fault,” Pullano said. “While true justice would mean tturning back the hands of time and having the truck driver stop, this settlement will provide this family a semblance of justice knowing he was not the cause of his own death.”

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