I had to read this one twice.
So a woman who lives in Utah was driving through the Nevada desert on December 27, 2011 when she hit a sagebrush, causing the vehicle to flip upside down. Unfortunately, the accident sent her husband, who was a passenger in the car she was driving, to the hospital, where he passed away on January 6, 2012. I’m sorry for the loss she and her family must have felt and still feel.
Now for the bizarre part of the story.
It seems Barbara Bagley, who was the driver of the vehicle, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against herself for alleged negligence in the accident that killed her spouse. You can take your time and read that line again if you’d like. Just in case you think you read it incorrectly.
Apparently, Bagley is the personal representative of the estate of her late husband and is suing the driver, (herself), whose interests in the case are being represented by her insurance carrier. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages that include medical and funeral expenses, loss of past and future financial support, the physical pain her husband suffered before he died from his injuries and the loss of love and companionship.
In her lawsuit, she claims she was negligent for failing to maintain a proper lookout and keep her vehicle under proper control.
A district judge dismissed the case in January, 2014 but last week, the appeals court reinstated the suit in a 3-0 ruling, stating that Utah statutes don’t prevent Barbara Bagley from seeking damages against herself. HUH????
The attorney’s representing Bagley against herself claim she is suing to meet her legal responsibilities on behalf of the estate, not herself. Right, she’s not looking to gain anything in this.
So if I’m following this correctly and the lawsuit is allowed to continue, a jury would be asked to determine whether Barbara Bagley’s fault caused Barbara Bagley’s own harm. Then the jury would be asked to determine how much money would fairly compensate Barbara Bagley for the harm and loss she caused herself. If you’re confused, imagine what a jury would be going through, effectively asking a person to compensate herself.
As of now, the attorney representing one of the two Barbara Bagley’s is deciding whether to appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.
And the clock just keeps on ticking. And the hourly rates just keeps on adding up. And somewhere in Utah, there is a woman who thinks this is an appropriate path to take. But you know she didn’t come up with this on her own, right?
For so many obvious reasons, one can only hope that an appeals court feels differently and a financial settlement is not part of the end result.