Lauren Scruggs Reaches Settlement in Propeller Accident
Injured model and fashion editor Lauren Scruggs, who lost her left hand and left eye in a Dec. 3 plane propeller accident, has reached a legal settlement with the insurance company for the pilot and the plane's owner, according to a representative for her attorney.
Previous reports Tuesday suggested that Scruggs rejected a $200,000 settlement from the plane's insurance company, but in a statement Tuesday night, Scruggs' lawyer clarified that the 23-year-old had not rejected the offer and that negotiations were ongoing.
"Attorneys for Ms. Scruggs wish to clarify that she neither accepted nor rejected the insurance company's offer. Instead, during ongoing negotiations, Ms. Scruggs filed a declaratory judgment action in Dallas County seeking interpretation of the insurance policy by the court," the statement reads.
Scruggs, 23, and the plane's insurance company, Aggressive Insurance Services, jointly announced in a statement Tuesday night that they resolved the issue addressed in the declaratory judgment action regarding the definition of the term "passenger."
Her attorney would not comment on further details.
Scruggs 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, 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.
In the court papers, filed by Scruggs on March 12, she claims 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. Scruggs said that 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 exit the plane and are on the tarmac, Scruggs challenged that definition. Scruggs had 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 attorney said that the issues raised in the declaratory judgment action had been resolved.
In the months since the accident, Scruggs has undergone intensive physical therapy and has picked up the pieces of her life. She 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.
She has also resumed writing fashion commentary on her LoLo website, took to Twitter and shared photos of a family ski vacation last month.