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Company ordered to pay over $5 million after woman contracts STD in car

The insurance company Geico has been sued for $5.2 million after a woman contracted HPV (human papillomavirus) in the vehicle of her then-boyfriend. The car happened to be insured by Geico, and the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled in her favor. She claimed the man knew about his HPV status, but did not inform her. Subsequently, she is now facing medical costs and emotional damage.  

A woman Contracted HPV in a car insured by Geico

In 2017, the woman in question was dating the man who she contracted the STD from. This was after they had sexual intercourse in his Hyundai Genesis which was insured by Geico. She claimed that the man did not disclose his diagnosis, nor did he take the proper precautions to prevent passing on the virus. So, she filed a petition in February 2021. The petition stated that the insurance policy her then-boyfriend had with Geico should cover the costs of the medical expenses she is now facing.

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The woman asked for $1 million to cover all the costs she was now facing, but Geico rejected the claim. As a result, the case went to arbitration. The woman remains anonymous. But, the Missouri court of appeals released an opinion that referred to the woman as M.O and the man as M.B. 

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“Insured ‘negligently caused or contributed to cause [M.O.] to be infected with HPV by not taking proper precautions and neglecting to inform and/or disclose his diagnosis,’ despite ‘having knowledge of his condition,’” the opinion wrote.

Arbitration is when two parties cannot agree. So, they end up getting a third party involved to conclude. The Jackson County Circuit Court assigned an arbitrator. He found the woman’s claim to be in her favor and recommended a $5.2million settlement.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no cure for HPV, but there are vaccines available. It is recommended that the vaccine is given at a young age before you are exposed to the virus. If you already contracted the disease, the vaccine will not work. Not all cases of HPV result in warts, in most cases your immune system works it out of your system. Should warts occur, there are various creams and topical treatments that can help treat the area. HPV also increases someone’s risk of developing cancer later in life.

Once the arbitrator was involved, he found that the man had indeed: “negligently infected M.O. with HPV. The court documents read that she should be “awarded her $5.2 million in damages.”

This amount was to cover any of her “past and future medical expenses. Not only that, but it should also cover any “past and future mental and physical pain and suffering.”

Read: Drunk Driver’s Mom Laughs At Victim’s Family In Court, So Judge Teaches Her A Lesson

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Geico Appealed

Geico appealed the judgment passed by the trial court. According to the court documents, they reasoned that they were not given a “meaningful opportunity to defend its interests.” 

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However, the appeals court found that: “Geico did have the opportunity to participate and defend its interests – including the ability to challenge liability and damages – by entering a defense of Insured.”

Unfortunately, no statements were made by the woman, but Geico released a statement to CBS Money Watch saying: “The question of whether there is coverage for this matter will be determined.” 

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What is Papillomavirus?

Sexually transmitted diseases have a knack for gaining unwanted attention and have a seriously bad stigma. Those who are unfortunate enough to contract them often feel ashamed, even though it is something so many of us have to endure. One of these STDs is human papillomavirus, otherwise known as HPV. Where most STDs are contracted through the exchange of bodily fluids, HPV is most commonly contracted through skin-to-skin contact. 

Once contracted, symptoms include flat warts, which look like flat-topped lesions that are often found on children’s faces. Secondly, you might get plantar warts, which are found on the balls of your feet. Thirdly, one might experience a common wart which is usually seen on your hands. Lastly, genital warts occur on either male or female genitals and resemble a cauliflower-like bump. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are over 100 variations of the papillomavirus. The worst-case scenario is that the disease leads to cancer. But, luckily most people’s immune systems manage to fight it off before warts start to develop. 

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Sources

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  1. A woman got an STD in a car. Now Geico may have to pay her $5.2 million.CBS News. Aimee Picchi. June 10, 2022.
  2. Geico ordered to pay $5.2 million to woman who contracted STD during sex in insured vehicle.USA Today. Asha. C. Gilbert. June 10, 2022.
  3. HPV infection.Mayo Clinic
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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