GEICO Faces $5M Suit for STD Contracted in a Car

After having unprotected sex in a Hyundai Genesis, a woman was diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV). Because she was injured in a vehicle, and the driver was responsible for her injuries and insured by GEICO, the woman made a claim against the insurance company.

Initial Claim, Settlement Offer, and Arbitration

According to her claim, the driver was negligent and did not tell her about his HPV diagnosis, even though he had “a throat cancer tumor that was confirmed to be positive for HPV.”

The woman offered to settle the insurance claim for $1 million, then filed a personal injury lawsuit against the insured man. Ultimately, the dispute was settled via arbitration, where an arbitrator awarded the woman $5.2 million.

Victories in Missouri Courts

The woman then went to circuit court in Jackson County, Missouri to enforce the arbitrator’s ruling. Once the case appeared in court, GEICO was quick to appeal.

The Missouri Court of Appeals found in the woman’s favor – not GEICO’s.

Federal Suit from GEICO

Now, GEICO is suing both its policyholder and the woman he slept with in federal court, claiming it isn’t liable for the woman’s HPV infection. According to NPR, GEICO says the claim is illegal due to legal doctrines, like "fraud, collusion, illegality, laches, and unclean hands." The insurance company also argues that the sexual activity fell outside the scope of coverage because it did not involve “the normal use of the vehicle.”

The woman, who now has 3 separate victories in Missouri courts stands by her claim and has accused GEICO of acting in bad faith by refusing to settle it. As NPR explains:

She says the man ‘was insured against his personal liability arising from his negligence in actions involving his automobile,’ and that makes GEICO responsible.”

Now a federal case involving one of the nation’s largest insurers, the jury trial will be held in Kansas City in October.

In the meantime, those purchasing car insurance should expect some new, very specific policy exclusions.

Does Car Insurance Apply to Every Injury that Happens in a Car?

No. Every auto insurance policy has a list of coverages and exclusions. Some policies do not cover damages from natural disasters, and most do not insure the items inside your vehicle (stolen items are usually covered under homeowner’s or renter’s insurance instead).

Insurance companies also have special rules for hit-and-run accidents, crashes involving uninsured or underinsured drivers, and cars being driven for work (commercial use vehicles).

Many car insurance policies specifically exclude injuries to and from pets in the car, as well.

Although we are currently unaware of any car insurance policies that explicitly cover or exclude sexual activity in cars, we are sure some insurance companies will add some new exclusions after seeing GEICO’s unique situation.

What If My Car Insurance Company Mishandles a Claim?

Car insurance companies like GEICO mishandle claims every day, and many people have to sue their insurers to get the coverage they paid for.

If you get into a car accident, and your insurer (or the at-fault driver’s insurer) delays or denies a valid claim, discuss your rights and legal options with an attorney as soon as possible.

Insurance companies are not on your side, but our team at Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. is. We provide honest, value-driven representation backed by over 150 years of combined experience, and we always seek to provide the best possible results for our clients.

If your car insurance company mishandles your claim, call us at (770) 629-0154 or contact us online for a free case review.