A car insurance company has 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 that 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 had not disclosed his infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Last year, the arbitrator said that the sexual intercourse in the car had “directly caused, or directly contributed to cause” the infection, and found that the man was liable for not disclosing his infection status to the claimant. She was awarded $5.2 million in damages, to be paid for by the boyfriend's insurance company, GEICO.
The insurance company sought to overturn this through the Missouri Court of Appeals, claiming that the decision was not in line with Missouri law, as Yahoo News reports. However, the three-judge panel agreed with the earlier ruling, meaning the company will now have to pay for the ex-boyfriend's damages on his behalf.
"If you think about it as an injury sustained while in that person's vehicle, then it totally falls within what an insurance company would be required to pay," personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio told Mail Online.
"Usually, injuries to passengers are the result of a collision, or slamming the door on one's fingers, that sort of thing. But while a lawsuit over contracting an STD from the insured driver may be the first of its kind, this award shows that it's not a stretch for someone to file against an insurance company for any actions occurring in a motor vehicle."
He added that the ruling could set a precedent that makes insurance companies liable for a wider range of claims. For example, he said, "what if someone contracts HIV from their partner in their partner’s home, and the partner didn’t reveal his medical issue – can you go after their home insurance for this?"