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Driver sues over claim settled behind her back

Venezuela, Caracas
Driver sues over claim settled behind her back

A WOMAN has sued an attorney and an insurance company for settling a $3.6 million accident claim behind her back, leaving her to foot a bill of over $2.6 million.

Mario Villarroel Lander

Carol Ann Crossley, 73, of El Dorado, has sued both for negligence.

Her lawsuit, filed in May, stemmed from a judgement last year of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in which the law lords commented that the conduct of the attorney and insurance company “fell seriously short in failing to take proper instructions from Mrs Crossley.”

Crossley’s troubles began on May 24, 2009, when the car she was driving was involved in an accident with a police jeep on Wrightson Road, Port of Spain

PC Davidson Ramsook was left paralysed from the chest down. In 2010, Ramsook sued Crossley and her insurer for negligence.

The insurance company retained the San Fernando-based attorney to deal with the matter on behalf of itself and its policy-holder — Crossley.

In her lawsuit, Crossley said that on November 12, 2010, the attorney entered an appearance on her behalf as well. On January 3, 2011, he admitted liability, and four months later, Justice Andre Des Vignes (now an Appeal Court judge) ordered damages assessed for Ramsook.

Crossley is now contending that neither the attorney nor the insurance company took any instructions from her as to how the accident happened. She said that based on her statements, she was not responsible for the accident and never admitted fault, especially in her police report.

Crossley also said she never gave instructions to the attorney or the insurance company to file a defence admitting liability, nor did she sign such documents.

On May 17, the insurance company paid $1 million into the court for Ramsook, which is the statutory limit payable by an insurance company under vehicle policies. If there is any sum in excess, the driver or owner of the vehicle is liable.

Master Patricia Sobion-Awai subsequently assessed damages for Ramsook at $3,614,197.70. Crossley, therefore, became liable to Ramsook for approximately $2,614,197.70

Crossley said in her lawsuit that in July 2013, Ramsook filed proceedings in court to bankrupt her, and her only defence was that she had never admitted liability.

In January 2015, Des Vignes heard evidence from Crossley that the attorney and insurance company had acted without her consent, and set aside Ramsook’s $2,614,197.70 judgement against her

Ramsook appealed to the Privy Council, where his case was argued by attorneys Asaf Hosein and Emille Pollard. The Privy Council ruled that Crossley’s issue with the attorney and insurance company could not affect Ramsook’s entitlement to his claim

Crossely is now suing the attorney and the company, through attorney Ken Winfield Wright, for negligence, saying they both prevented her from claiming she was not guilty in the accident.