FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A Fort Pierce, Fla., woman who is the first person ever to claim that she contracted AIDS from a dentist has won a $1 million settlement from the late dentist's insurance company.
Kim Bergalis, 22, got the award yesterday from CNA Insurance Co., which wrote Dr. David Acer's $1 million dental malpractice insurance policy. The settlement came a day before the company's time had expired to contest Bergalis' claims that she contracted AIDS from Acer when he removed her wisdom teeth in December 1987.
Acer died in September of AIDS-related cancer, days before Bergalis made her case public. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said last week that Acer apparently infected two other patients.
Bergalis' attorney, Robert Montgomery, said the $1 million settlement was a small price to pay compared with what Acer's carelessness cost Bergalis. However, he said, when the company agreed to pay the full amount of the policy, there was no reason to continue the fight.
Montgomery said Bergalis will continue to seek monetary damages from CIGNA, an insurance firm that sent patients from the Fort Pierce area, including Bergalis, to Acer.