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Driver in fatal crash sues herself

Barbara Bagley, from Utah, was driving on Interstate 80 when she crashed the car, killing her husband and seriously injuring herself. As a representative of her husband’s estate, she decided to take legal action against herself in order to claim compensation from the insurance company.
Ms Bagley suffered concussion, broken bones and two punctured lungs. Her husband was take to hospital but died of his injuries soon afterwards. She is now seeking unspecified damages from the insurance company for medical expenses, loss of financial support and the loss of her husband’s love and companionship.
In January 2014, her claim was denied by a district judge. Her lawyers argued that as representative of her husband’s estate, she had the responsibility to act in a way that benefitted the estate, which, in this instance, also meant herself. Although this appears to represent a conflict of interests, the case was allowed to continue on appeal.
Lawyers representing Ms Bagley, in her capacity as driver, commented about the confusion that could result from the case going ahead. “If this suit is allowed to continue, a jury would be asked to determine whether Barbara Bagley’s fault caused Barbara Bagley’s own harm. The jury would be asked to determine how much money would fairly compensate Barbara Bagley for the harm she caused herself. the jury would be highly confused, it cannot order a person to compensate themself.”
Diane Parker, head of personal injury at Atherton Godfrey, said: “In the UK, a similar situation could not arise. Case law here would prevent the driver from benefitting personally in such circumstances. However, the case raises an interesting legal precedent and the possibility that someone who caused an accident might bring action against themselves in order to benefit a third party.”
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