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Injured model settles insurance claim from plane accident

As she continues to recover from the injuries she sustained after accidentally walking into a spinning plane propeller, Lauren Scruggs is one step closer to putting the incident behind her.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

As she continues to recover from the injuries she sustained after accidentally walking into a spinning plane propeller, Lauren Scruggs is one step closer to putting the incident behind her.

Scruggs’ attorney told NBC News on Tuesday night that a settlement has been reached with Aggressive Insurance Services, the insurer of the plane and pilot involved in Scruggs’ accident. Earlier on Tuesday, reports had surfaced that she had rejected a $200,000 insurance settlement.

She was asking the court to define whether she was considered a “passenger’’ under the terms set forth by the insurance company, which would determine the maximum payout for her injuries, according to court papers.

The Scruggs family and their attorney have declined to comment on the terms of the settlement, and the insurance company has yet to confirm the agreement. The two sides did jointly announce that they have resolved the issues raised in the declaratory judgment action.

On Dec. 3, 2011, the 23-year-old model and fashion blogger from Plano, Texas, lost her left eye and left hand from the injuries she sustained when she walked into a spinning plane propeller in the dark. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the pilot, family friend Curt Richmond, was not responsible, although the board acknowledged he should have shut down the engine sooner.

Richmond told Scruggs to walk away from the propeller as she exited the plane, but it’s unclear whether she was able to hear him over the roar of the engine, according to the NTSB report. The family has said publicly that they do not blame Richmond for the accident.

In court documents, Scruggs had disputed her status as a “passenger’’ in the eyes of the insurance company. The policies define a “passenger” as “any person, other than the pilot, who is in the aircraft or getting in or out of it," according to her complaint. Scruggs claims 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.’’

According to her complaint, Scruggs said “she had completed her exit from the aircraft prior to the time of the incident and was physically located on the tarmac when the incident happened. Until struck by the propeller, she was not in physical contact with the aircraft after her exit."

Scruggs has since received a prosthetic left eye in her remarkable recovery from her injuries and the physical and emotional toll they have taken. She tweeted photos from a family trip to Steamboat Springs, Colo., last month, adding that it was “such a fun weekend with sweet family and friends.’’

She also has returned to writing her fashion blog, “Lolo,’’ and has been tweeting about fashion trends and topics.