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Wife Kills Husband in Car Crash, Sues Herself, Yet 'Absurdity Doctrine' Doesn't Apply

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

In a shocking twist, the Utah woman who accidentally killed her husband in a car crash, then sued herself as the representative of her husband's estate as a result of the car crash, won before the Utah Supreme Court last month. The ruling, which seems so absurd, confirms that the legal "absurdity doctrine" did not apply to the situation.

Although the Utah woman was at fault for the accident, her role as the executor of her husband's estate essentially makes her a third party acting on behalf of her husband's estate. So while for the sake of appearances it looks like she is suing herself, it is actually her late husband's estate that is suing her. The estate collects any settlement or verdict, and would distribute the funds with the rest of the late husband's assets.

Isn't There a Conflict of Interest?

While it would seem that there would be conflict of interest for the wife, the anatomy of a car accident case makes this scenario seem less outlandish. Generally, the person who caused the car accident, doesn't have much to do with the process of defending the case.

Typically, the at fault party's car insurance company does everything associated with the defense of the case, including paying the verdict or settlement. As such, it is speculated that the reason this Utah widow has sued herself was in order to have her husband's estate receive the insurance company's settlement for her negligent driving. However, it is very likely that the insurance company believed the case seemed a bit off and decided to challenge it. Initially, the case was dismissed, however, after an appeal, the case was reinstated.

While the legal system can allow some odd situations to arise, this one is a rare gem. Generally, there are prohibitions against collecting insurance money if you caused the accident, for instance, a wife that murders her husband will not be legally allowed to collect the insurance proceeds of the husband's life insurance. However, in this case, as the accident was not intentional and was a result of negligence, most life insurance policies would not prohibit the wife from collecting the proceeds.

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