Car insurer Geico faces a potential $5.2m payout to a woman who is claiming she contracted a sexually transmitted infection whilst having sex in the car of a man insured by the company. The claim has prompted Tesla’s Elon Musk to call for legal action against law firms pursuing such “crazy” claims.
The BBC reported earlier this week that the US woman, identified as ‘MO’ in court files, said she caught the human papillomavirus (HPV) in her partners car. The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a judgment that awarded her the settlement to be paid by Geico.
The court documents revealed that MO learned she was infected with the virus in 2018, and claimed her former partner knew he had the virus but did not disclose, leading to “past and future medical expenses” for her, as well as “mental and physical pain and suffering.”
The Missouri woman reportedly asserted that Geico’s policy covered her injuries. However, the company initially denied coverage and refused her initial settlement offer of $1m.
MO and her former partner then entered arbitration, and the arbitrator sided with their case, determining that “there was sexual activity in [insured’s] automobile” that “directly caused, or directly contributed to cause” the woman to be infected with HPV, despite the man’s existing knowledge of his positive HPV diagnosis.
In response, Geico has filed a federal lawsuit on the grounds that the woman’s claim is not covered by the insurance policy, as revealed in a report by Insurance Business UK. The outcome of which is yet to be seen.
The brow-raising insurance claim has prompted Tesla CEO Elon Musk to take to twitter in his usual fashion. He reportedly said, “Crazy damages claims like this are a big part of why car insurance costs so much.”
“It should be possible to sue law firms for pursuing insane damages claims,” he added.
Musk’s interest in the auto insurance market comes as Tesla is rolling out its real-time data insurance product across various states in the US. Its insurance offering, which uses data based on individual driving behaviour, is now available in seven states.
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