Joseph R. Bonfig is a member of the Zarwin Baum defense group and solely devoted to civil defense litigation. The primary focus of his practice is with complex litigation matters involving Trucking and Transportation. Joseph is regularly retained by some of the nation's largest insurers, third party administrators, motor carriers and businesses when they face such matters. Joseph also serves as the Lead Field Counsel for the firm’s National Emergency Response Team for such companies as Coach USA/Megabus and holds appointments as National Lead Field and Regional Lead Field Counsel for several large transportation companies and third party administrators in response to truck and bus accidents and in defense of the personal injury suits that result from the same. Joseph also represent a variety of clients in areas of Products Liability, Premises Liability and other areas of general liability. He maintains a high volume, wide-ranging caseload in areas ranging from commercial motor vehicles to technical equipment, such as cranes and air lifts, to slip and fall accidents.
Zarwin Baum has a uniquely experienced Catastrophic Accident Response Team ("CAT Team") staffed 24/7, 365 days per year in which Joseph is the Lead Field Counsel. Working with a team of experts and investigators in the field during a catastrophic emergency, numerous carriers and self insureds rely on Joseph’s expertise and guidance to handle the CAT team's early field investigation and manage large claim exposure.
In addition, Joseph works with senior counsel on a variety of complex litigation matters where there is catastrophic loss and highly technical and legal issues. He has experience in Multi-District Litigation defending a dietary supplements manufacturer; and has litigated medical malpractice, legal malpractice and asbestos cases. Joseph also has appellate experience wherein he has submitted, argued and been successful before a number of appellate courts.
Joseph was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for the years of 2007 to 2016, an honor received by only 2.5% of Pennsylvania lawyers each year. Rising Stars are chosen by their peers as being among the top promising lawyers in the state.
Prior to joining Zarwin Baum, Joseph was an associate with Marshall Dennehey where he litigated various matters involving Products Liability, Premises Liability, Medical Malpractice and other areas of general liability. After graduating from law school, Joseph joined Sweeney & Sheehan, a civil defense litigation firm, where the focus of his practice was workers' compensation and premise liability. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Scranton and Widener University School of Law where he was an editor for the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law.
Joseph has handled in excess of 100 national emergency responses over the past 8 years on behalf of individual clients, self-insured’s, TPAs and insurance companies for catastrophic accidents involving all likes of commercial motor vehicles.
Four Fatal, 23 injuries Bridge Collision, Syracuse, New York: Double deck bus struck low-lying bridge. Emergency response was initiated and within hours of the accident as Lead Field Counsel, I was on the scene with all investigators and accident reconstruction personnel. I was successful in delaying law enforcement from moving the equipment until accident reconstruction personnel had the opportunity to inspect the equipment and also played key part in establishing a central care area with the help of the Red Cross to rebuild and maintain a relationship with the client and its many passengers in the many days post-accident. Counsel participated in resolving all claims except one matter within 22 months of accident including numerous meditations. One case tried to verdict .
Triple Fatal, Indiana: Three fatalities and 2 injured. Notice of accident was received at 10:00PM. As Lead Field Counsel, I was on scene the very next morning and managed a team of investigators and reconstruction experts at the scene. Commercial Motor Vehicle was carrying an over-sized load with permits and escorts. All vehicles involved were preserved for inspection and driver was properly handled to secure attorney-client privilege. Critical evidence from response preserved for trial purposes.
Sixty-Four vehicle pile-up, Pennsylvania: Three fatal and numerous injuries. Snow squall immediately covered major roadway resulting in several chain reaction impacts which totaled sixty-four vehicles including numerous commercial motor vehicles. As Lead Field Counsel, I immediately responded to scene upon notice and managed and directed emergency response personnel and secured the driver for attorney-client privilege purposes.
Waters v. Confidential Motor Carrier
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Plaintiff (Waters), an operator of a commercial tractor-trailer, was struck in the rear by the defendant, who was also a commercial tractor-trailer driver. This matter was transferred to Zarwin Baum less than a month before trial due to the client’s confidence in the firm’s Trial Transportation Team. Joseph participated in the defense despite permanent and disabling injuries, clear liability and punitive damages arising from alleged positive drug screenings, Joseph and the defense team were able to settle this case after jury selection for an amount substantially below the limits of liability and initial demands of settlement.
Rodriguez v. Safety Kleen
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Plaintiff (Rodriguez) contended that he was a passenger in a vehicle struck in the rear by the Defendants’ commercial truck. Joseph developed evidence during discovery that raised serious questions regarding whether the plaintiff was actually injured in the accident and if his claims of disability and impairment were fabricated. As a result of Josephs aggressive discovery efforts, the case was “withdrawn” by the plaintiff’s counsel immediately before jury selection without any payment to the plaintiff or his counsel.
Thayer v. ARL Inc., et al,
Marion County, Indiana
Plaintiff (Thayer) alleged being struck in the driver’s side by a tractor trailer that failed to stop at a red light. Plaintiff was hospitalized for nine days following the accident, suffering a fractured clavicle and three fractured ribs. Plaintiff made a seven figure settlement demand at mediation, which was later reduced to a “rock solid” demand of $500,000 at the commencement of trial. After three days of compelling testimony and argument before a jury in Indianapolis, IN, the case ultimately settled for $125,000.
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