A WOMAN who has to pay an accident victim millions of dollars has filed a lawsuit against an insurance company and an attorney.
Carol Ann Crossley claims liability for the accident was admitted on her behalf, without her input.
She has sued for abuse of process, breach of contract and negligence.
Crossley, who had said from the beginning that she was not responsible for the accident, brought the action against Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Ltd (TATIL) and attorney Rennie Gosine.
She claimed proper instructions were not taken and she was not kept informed as to the risk or to the proceedings which were being done in her name.
She is seeking a declaration that she is entitled to be indemnified by TATIL and Gosine for payment of all money in excess of $1 million in relation to the judgment given in 2011 in favour of the accident victim, police officer Davidson Ramsook.
Ramsook was paralysed from the chest down after he sustained injuries while he was a passenger in a police car back in 2009.
Ramsook had taken the matter to the Privy Council and Crossley was ordered to pay him $3.6 million.
Crossley, of El Dorado, was insured up to $1.5 million. In 2011, $1 million was paid into court, equating the amount required to be covered. The additional sum had to be recovered either from Crossley, leaving her to recover it from her insurers or, if she did not pay, after bankrupting her, taking advantage of her insurance rights under the law.
‘Crossley was not served’
In court documents, Crossley is claiming damages for Ramsook were assessed by reason of the manner in which TATIL and Gosine “handled her defence and admitted liability on her part without her instructions and or input... and/or without any or due regard for her own version from inception that she was not responsible for the accident”.
She is also claiming against TATIL and Gosine payment to Ramsook of the money which now stands at $4,799,139.47 and interest accruing, together with all costs awarded to him.
Crossley is also seeking damages for breach of contract and/or negligence and/or loss of opportunity to defend herself on liability, and an order for the matter to be referred to the Law Association for investigation. She is also seeking damages for abuse of process, interest and costs.
In the past, when Ramsook’s matter was heard before the Court of Appeal, the point was raised that TATIL would have acted and taken over conduct of the proceedings by virtue of clause 15, the representation clause of the policy of insurance.
The Court of Appeal held that this clause would have applied if the proceedings were served on Crossley, but said that she was not served.
Before the Privy Council, however, the law lords said TATIL was “entitled under clause 15 to take over and conduct the defence and settlement of that claim, for that purpose to retain an attorney on her behalf, and to have full discretion in its settlement. A litigant against whom a claim is made which leads to legal proceedings is entitled to waive service of the claim documents and to enter an appearance and thereafter a defence”.
However, they said: “A clause like clause 15 is not carte blanche to insurers to conduct proceedings in their own interests, without regard to reality or to their insured’s account of events, or to the fact that here the claim was likely severely to affect Mrs Crossley as well as TATIL.”