The insurance company was ordered to pay the damages. Image credit: Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/shutterstock.com
A car insurance company is to pay $5.2 million to a woman who claims she caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in a Hyundai Genesis.
The woman, from Missouri, claims she caught the STI from her ex-boyfriend in his car, which was insured by GEICO General Insurance Company. The case alleged that the man failed to disclose his human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Last year, arbitrator said intercourse in the car ‘directly caused or contributed directly to causing’ infection, and found man liable for not disclosing his HIV status to claimant . She was awarded $5.2 million in damages, to be paid by the boyfriend’s insurance company, GEICO.
The insurance company sought to overturn that decision through the Missouri Court of Appeals, claiming the decision did not comply with Missouri law, as reported by Yahoo News. However, the three-judge panel accepted the earlier ruling, meaning the company will now have to pay the ex-boyfriend’s damages on her behalf.
“If you consider this an injury sustained in that person’s vehicle, it is totally within what an insurance company would be liable to pay,” personal injury lawyer Miguel Custodio told Mail Online.
“Usually passenger injuries are the result of a collision, or slamming the door on the fingers, that sort of thing. But while a lawsuit for contracting an STD from the insured driver may be the first of its kind, this award shows that it is no exaggeration for someone to sue an insurance company for any action occurring in a motor vehicle.”
He added that the ruling could set a precedent that would make insurance companies liable for a wider range of claims. For example, he said, “what if someone gets HIV from their partner in their partner’s home, and the partner hasn’t disclosed their medical condition – can you sue their home insurance for that? ?”