The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a $5.2 million judgement on Tuesday June 9, 2022, against GEICO. The case involved a woman who said she unknowingly caught HPV, the human papillomavirus, during unprotected sex in her then-boyfriend’s GEICO-insured car. A Jackson County Circuit court held that the man was liable for not disclosing his infection and that the car directly contributed to the woman’s contraction of HPV.
Geico argued that the judgement did not fall in line with Missouri law and that their policy with the insured man only covered “out of ownership, maintenance, or use of the… auto.” On appeal, the appellate court upheld the lower court saying that GEICO did not have strong case or appeal once a final judgement was entered and damages were determined.
GEICO did not want to settle the case and it went to arbitration in May, 2021. The arbitrator sided with the plaintiff and awarded the $5.2 million in damages to be paid by GEICO.
GEICO still has a chance to avoid paying the settlement as it is contesting the decision in a federal court, arguing again that the claim is not covered by the policy. Furthermore, this case could have a lasting impact on insurance companies’ payouts related to incidents inside insured vehicles.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell wrote last year, “This case presents novel and potentially important issues about whether an insurance carrier can be held liable under such policies for the consequences of two adults voluntarily having unprotected sex in the insured automobile.” Mitchell also said, “The interpretation of these policies could have far reached implications for other policies with similar terms.”
If you or a loved one have been affected by an accident or death, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a free and confidential consultation.