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Injured fashion blogger reaches settlement
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a Plano fashion blogger who was seriously injured by an aircraft propeller according to a joint announcement from the woman's attorneys and the aircraft's insurance company.
Details of the settlement were not released, other than saying the two sides had resolved the issues in the lawsuit, which was filed by Lauren Scruggs against the company that insured the plane she was a passenger in. Prior to the suit being filed, Scruggs was offered a six-figure settlement from Aggressive Insurance Services.
Scruggs was seriously injured by the propeller at McKinney's Aero Country Airport on Dec. 3. Prior to the accident, Scruggs, as well as pilot Curt Richmond, had been viewing Christmas light's in a single-engine airplane. After the plane landed, Scruggs disembarked and a short time later walked into the propeller, losing her left eye, left hand and sustaining cranial damage.
According to the lawsuit which was filed Monday in Dallas County, Aggressive Insurance verbally offered Scruggs a $200,000 settlement after the accident. The company, which owns the plane that Scruggs rode in, also owns a separate plane and has insurance policies on both. Each policy has a $1 million limit per occurrence, with a sub-limit of $100,000 per passenger. The policy on the non-involved aircraft has a clause which allows it to extend to other aircraft flown by Richmond, so a settlement of $200,000 was offered, court documents said.
If the settlement was not reached, the central question the court would have answered is what is the definition of the term "passenger?" The insurance policies define passenger as "any person, other than the pilot, who is in the aircraft or getting in or out of it." The lawsuit contended Scruggs was not in the act of exiting the aircraft and was standing on the tarmac at the time of the accident, so she should not be considered a passenger. Therefore, the per-passenger limit should not apply.
A preliminary report issued in January by the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that Scruggs successfully exited the aircraft. It states that after Richmond landed, he kept the engine running so he could pick up another passenger. He said he opened the plane's right-side door and expected a friend to come out and help Scruggs from the plane. When Scruggs began to exit the plane in front of the strut, "the pilot leaned out of his seat and placed his right hand and arm in front of her to divert her away from the front of the airplane and the propeller."
The report states Richmond said he watched as she exited the plane and cleared the strut, before turning his attention away from her. When he heard someone yell "stop, stop," he shut down the engine and saw Scruggs lying in front of the airplane.
Scruggs has been released from the hospital and is currently undergoing physical rehabilitation. Her family provides periodic updates on her status at www.caringbridge.org/visit/laurenscruggs.
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