The Utah Supreme Court has affirmed the right of an individual to act as both plaintiff and defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal car accident in which they were both the negligent driver and the person who suffered the loss of a wrongful death.
The unusual case of Bagley v. Bagley has garnered international headlines, and will now proceed to trial after the state supreme court affirmed the decision of the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the claim. The trial court had reasoned a person can’t be both plaintiff and defendant. But the higher courts rule it is possible when we’re talking about a person who, in the plaintiff capacity, is acting as personal representative of the estate of the decedent. So in effect, they are not suing themselves for the personal injury they have personally inflicted, but rather, the wrongful death that their loved one suffered.
We don’t expect to see a glut of these kinds of cases anytime soon, but it could open the doors for some families to recover damages from insurance where they otherwise might not have been able to do so. Continue reading →