Can You Sue Someone for Giving You an Std?

Contracting an STD from your partner is probably the last thing you’d want to have happen. Not only will it likely strain your relationship, but now you’ve got to deal with the disease itself. If you’ve contracted an STD, can you sue the partner that gave it to you? While each state’s laws may vary to a degree, there are legal actions you can take against your partner. In this article, we’ll examine the question of “can you sue someone for giving you an STD?” in greater detail. We’ll look at some of the legal recourse and factors to consider if you ever contract an STD from someone.

STDs & Negligence

Under what legal theory can you sue someone for giving you an STD? The most common legal theory used to bring a lawsuit against someone who gave you an STD is that of negligence. To operate on the theory of negligence, you need to demonstrate the following elements:

  • The partner who gave you the STD knew they had the disease.
  • The partner had a duty to inform you about the STD.
  • The partner breached this duty and did not inform you about the STD.
  • You contracted the STD due to this breach of duty.

The answer to suing someone that gave you herpes or any other type of STD will hinge on whether you can demonstrate these four elements. Note that negligence does not require you to demonstrate your partner had ill intent. Your partner can still be found negligent if, for example, he used a condom, and you contracted an STD.

Sexual Battery

Another common question asked is, can you sue someone for giving you HSV 1 or HSV 2 under sexual battery? The answer is yes; you can sue someone for sexual battery no matter what STD was passed on. Sexual battery means sexual contact was made towards another individual without their consent. In the case of STDs, a battery case could be made since the known risk of contracting an STD was non-consensual. Even though the sexual encounter may have been consensual, if the defendant knew they had an STD, it can be enough to make a case for sexual battery. 

Intentional STD Exposure

What is the concept of intentional STD exposure? How can you go about suing someone for giving your herpes or any other STD under this legal theory? Intentional exposure to STDs occurs when an individual knowingly or recklessly transmits the disease to another person. There are three elements the plaintiff must prove:

  • The individual knew they had the STD.
  • The individual did not disclose to their partner that they had an STD.
  • The individual knew the STD is transmissible through sex.

If the individual did not know they had an STD at the time of intercourse, they would not be held liable for intentional STD exposure.

Prove Your Damages

Proving your damages can sometimes be challenging. Damages in, say, car accidents are typically obvious and easy to decipher. STD symptoms, on the other hand, can take some time to develop and may not immediately show. The victim may also have had other sexual partners, complicating matters more. With that being said, damages that are commonly sought after include:

  • Medical expenses: These expenses include any medical costs for treating the STD.
  • Emotional distress:  If you have no major physical symptoms, you can claim damages based on fear and anxiety suffered from contracting the STD.

The Consequences of Failing to Inform Your Partner

The consequences of failing to inform your partner can be twofold:

  1. Civil Lawsuit: Suing someone for giving you HPV or other STDs typically falls under a civil lawsuit. While penalties vary depending on state laws, non-criminal suits can generally be levied against an individual for not informing their partner of having an STD. Civil lawsuits aim to seek compensation due to damages from contracting the STD.
  2. Criminal Charges: Depending on the state, criminal charges can result from failing to inform your partner of serious sexual diseases, like HIV or AIDS. California, for example, considers failing to inform your partner about your HIV status a felony.

Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

Determining the answer to the question of whether you can sue someone for giving you an STD can be tricky. As mentioned before, symptoms can sometimes take a while to become apparent. Additionally, proving intentionality or negligence by your partner can be difficult to establish. A personal injury attorney will help evaluate the strength of your case and provide you with the best legal options. They’ll be able to assess the evidence available such as medical records, testimonies, and more. Based on this assessment, an attorney can help you better understand the path towards suing someone for an STD. An experienced attorney will guide you through the legal proceedings and represent your best interests while maintaining a caring and compassionate approach during this sensitive time. 

Valiente Mott

If you’d like to learn more about the issue of STD lawsuits, contact Valiente Mott today! Our Las Vegas personal injury attorney experts strive to help victims navigate the complicated legal procedures. Whether it’s advice on your case, legal representation, or dealing with insurance companies, we’ll walk with you every step of the way so you can get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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