STI in Vehicle Case

STI in Vehicle Case

When utilizing a vehicle for transportation, primary concerns may include automobile accidents, flat tires, and now, more than ever, the price of gas. However, one would not immediately associate the dangers of contracting a sexually transmitted infection among the list of worries typically linked to cars. But, a Missouri court recently ruled that Geico insurance company must pay a woman $5.2 million who claims that she contracted human papillomavirus in her ex-boyfriend’s car.

In late 2017, the woman and her ex-boyfriend had unprotected sexual intercourse in his 2014 Hyundai Genesis, and following this encounter, the claimant developed HPV. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a type of STI in which the recipient develops warts on varying parts of the body. The woman states that the ex-boyfriend was negligent because he did not disclose his condition and that Geico is liable since the company insured his car at the time of the incident.

In February 2021, the woman directly filed a claim to Geico. She alleged that its insured, her ex-boyfriend, failed to take proper precautions or divulge his health status to her. The woman asserted that Geico is responsible for her medical expenses in addition to her pain and suffering.

Court documents state that the woman made a final settlement offer of $1 million. But in April 2021, Geico denied coverage and refused her settlement offer. The case was submitted to an arbitrator who determined that the sexual activity in the insured’s car directly caused the woman’s infection. The arbitrator concluded that $5.2 million would sufficiently compensate the woman for her injuries and damages. A Jackson County circuit court approved the arbitration amount, but Geico filed an appeal. In June 2022, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the $5.2 million award. The three-judge panel responsible for reviewing the appeal determined that Geico could have defended its interests by entering a defense of its insured.

Despite these wins on the state level, Geico took the battle to federal court in April 2021. Geico sued the woman and her ex-boyfriend in federal court as the company claims that it is not liable for the HPV infection, and Geico does not have a duty to defend the man from her claims against him. The jury trial is scheduled to begin in Kansas City in October 2022.

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