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Legal Anomaly: Utah Woman Sues Herself For Wrongful Death

Written by Berkowitz

The comedian and former late night talk show host Arsenio Hall once famously quipped about “the things that make you go ‘hmmmm.'”  In a unique turn of events that has even the wrongful death experts at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC intrigued, a Utah court of appeals just ruled that the driver who survived a car accident that killed her husband…  could sue herself for wrongful death.

On December 27, 2011, 48-year-old Barbara Bagley was driving her Range Rover on Interstate 80, near Battle Mountain, when it slid on sage bush, causing the car to flip over. Her husband, Bradley Vom Baur, was ejected from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries leading to his death two weeks later. Bagley herself suffered two punctured lungs, broken ribs, a shattered wrist and a concussion.

In a wrongful death lawsuit that was dismissed last year but recently reinstated by a Utah court of appeals, Bagley is suing herself for negligence in “failing to maintain a proper lookout and to keep her vehicle under proper control.”  The case hinges on the definition of “of another,” notes the firm, where Bagley as Defendant (the driver who is represented by her insurance company) is deemed a separate party from Bagley, the Plaintiff and representative of her late husband’s estate.  She is seeking an unspecified amount in damages—for medical and funeral expenses, loss of past and future financial support, her husband’s pain and suffering, and her loss of his companionship and love.

Note: We did not represent any of the parties in this case.