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Model Rejects $200,000 Settlement Offer in Personal Injury Suit

After touring a Christmas light show display a fashion blogger and model was injured last December by the still-rotating propeller after she had left the plane and was on the tarmac. The 23-year-old model was severely injured losing her left hand and one eye in the plane accident. According to sources, the Collin County plaintiff has rejected a $200,000 settlement and is suing the plane's insurers in Dallas County, Texas.

The victim is asking the court to interpret the definition of passenger as well as the complete scope of the phrase "getting out of the plane" as it relates to the term "passenger." The initial $200,000 settlement offer was the result of the plane owner and operators two insurance policies having a limit of $1 million per occurrence with a sublimit of $100,000 per passenger.

There are two different insurance policies involved, one by the planes owners and a second was the pilots own policy for a different plane, which also covered him when piloting other aircraft. Both insurance policies state the definition of passenger as any person other than the pilot who is either in the aircraft or attempting to get in or out of the aircraft.

According to the plaintiff's complaint, she disagrees with both insurance company's position that she was a passenger because she was neither getting in or out of the aircraft at the time of the accident. Thus, she claims the sublimits of both policies are not applicable in her case.

The pilot of the plane involved in the incident had stopped the plane but kept the engine running and the propeller still spinning. The model was permanently disfigured in the accident.

In a personal injury case such as this, a judge and or jury will not only look at medical and rehabilitation expenses but also how the injuries will affect her future ability to earn a living as a model as well as the pain and suffering that has resulted from the accident. There are numerous factors involved in determining the total damages suffered and her attorneys will no doubt be asking for far more than $200,000, depending on the outcome, perhaps, of the declaratory judgment she has requested.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Disfigured Model Rejects $200,000 Settlement Offer," David Lee, Mar. 27, 2012

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