Lauren Scruggs Rejects $200K Settlement in Propeller Accident

Mar 27, 2012 1:52pm

Injured model and fashion editor Lauren Scruggs, who is recovering from a Dec. 3 plane propeller accident in which she lost her left hand and left eye, rejected a $200,000 settlement offer from the plane’s insurance company and will sue for more, according to court documents.

Legal documents obtained by Courthouse News Service that were filed by Scruggs in Dallas County, Texas, on March 12 claim that representatives from the insurance company verbally offered to pay her a total of $200,000 — two sub-limit payments of $100,000 from two separate policies that covered the plane involved in the accident.

The 23-year-old model and fashion editor had just landed after viewing Christmas lights from above on Dec. 3 when she walked into a moving airplane propeller at a private airport north of Dallas.  The pilot, defendant Curt Richmond, left the propeller running while Scruggs exited the plane. According to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Administration in January, the pilot claims he tried to warn Scruggs and told her walk behind the airplane. The spinning propeller sliced off her hand and doctors were forced to remove her left eye weeks later.

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Scruggs underwent intensive physical therapy, was fitted with a prosthetic eye last month and has met with prosthetic arm experts, according to her mother Cheryl Scruggs, who has documented her daughter’s struggles and recovery on her blog.

In the court papers, Scruggs said that the plane’s insurance company, Aggressive Insurance Services, explained that under the policies, the $100,000 sub-limit is the most they can pay out to a “passenger.”

Scruggs believes that she was not a “passenger” because “she was not in the aircraft or getting in or out of it at the time of the incident,” and should not be limited to the $100,000 passenger sub-limit.

Both policies define the term “passenger” as “… any person, other than the pilot, who is in the Aircraft or getting in or out of it.”

While the insurance company holds that you remain a “passenger” after you exiting the plane and are on the tarmac, Scruggs is challenging that definition. Scruggs has asked for the court for declaratory judgment — to determine the interpretation of the term “passenger” and “getting out of” the plane, as well as cover court costs, attorney fees and “all other relief to which plaintiff is entitled.”

Her lawyer had no immediate response to ABC News’ request for comment.

Scruggs has picked up the pieces of her life since the accident. She resumed writing fashion commentary on her LoLo website, took to Twitter and shared photos of a family ski vacation last month.

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