Court Allows Woman to Sue Herself in Wrongful Death Case

Feb. 26th, 2015   /   ,

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Our personal injury lawyers frequently represent individuals who have been injured or otherwise harmed by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Sometimes, the harm in question is the loss of a loved one, and in a wrongful death case (i.e. one stemming from a car crash, a surgical mistake, etc.), we represent the families of the deceased in seeking compensation from the people or organizations responsible for causing the wrongful death.

In a fascinating (and quire crazy) turn of legal precedent, a Utah court has granted a woman the ability to sue herself for the wrongful death of her husband. Yes, that’s right – she will be both the plaintiff and the defendant in the case. Apparently, in late December of 2011, a woman was driving in a car with her husband when she got into a car accident – an accident that ended the life of her husband. Now, the surviving wife of the victim is suing herself in the capacity of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash.

According to reports, in the lawsuit against herself, the woman is seeking an “unspecified amount” of money related to losses she’s incurred in the capacity of the deceased man’s wife, including medical and funeral costs in addition to anguish and loss of companionship. Our personal injury lawyers know that, if successful, the woman (as plaintiff) would recover money from herself (such money being paid by her insurance carrier). The woman’s legal claims against herself indicate that the woman, as driver, lost control of a Range Rover, which flipped over, throwing her 55-year-old husband from the vehicle; he sustained head injuries from which he died 10 days later.

When the Utah woman initially filed the case in 2014, the judge understandably dismissed it. However, an Appeals Court earlier this month reinstated the lawsuit, claiming that Utah state law did not preclude the woman from being able to sue herself for damages. In seeking compensation from the insurance company through the lawsuit against herself as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash, the woman is also acting for the benefit of the estate of her husband. As such, creditors will be paid before the woman, in her capacity as the deceased man’s wife, receives any money.

The insurance company’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit (as they would be the ones paying if the woman, as the deceased man’s wife, wins the wrongful death suit). In the motion, the lawyers pointed out the complications of the case, noting, “the jury would be asked to determine how much money will fairly compensate [the woman] for the harm she caused herself.”

While the lawyers point is not necessarily a legal argument substantial enough to warrant the tossing of a case, their point does emphasize the fact that not all wrongful death cases are the same. At the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green, we have experience handling wrongful death cases of all different types. Because each case is different, each legal defense must be unique. If you have any questions about this or any other personal injury issue, please contact our lawyers at 561-266-9191 or daronberg@aronberglaw.com to set up a free consultation.

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