You may have first heard of human papillomavirus, or HPV, from the Gardasil commercials for the HPV vaccine. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Although 90 percent of the time it goes away on its own and causes no health problems, it can cause genital warts or even cancer.1
Sounds like something you’d want to avoid, right? Well, the plaintiff in the GEICO case felt the same way, which is why she asked the insured if he was infected.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t honest and didn’t disclose his HPV diagnosis even though he was aware of it. From November to early December 2017, M.O. and the insured had sex multiple times in his GEICO-insured car under these false pretenses.
M.O. wanted GEICO to cover her injuries and losses stemming from her HPV diagnosis. However, in April 2021, GEICO denied this coverage and rejected her $9.9 million settlement offer. The case was arbitrated in May 2021, and the arbitrator found that the insured negligently infected M.O. with HPV, granting her an arbitration award of $5.2 million from GEICO. Once M.O. filed this action in the trial court, the judge ruled in her favor in the Jackson County Circuit Court.
Naturally, GEICO was not happy about this court ruling. After all, how is a woman having consensual (albeit ill-informed) sex with a partner and contracting a sexually transmitted disease the fault of a car insurance company?