Can You Sue Someone for Giving You a Sexually Transmitted Disease?
Sexually transmitted diseases can happen even when partners are very careful and take precautions against them. However, partners must be honest diseases that are transmittable before having sex. STDs comes with a stigma, but, worse, victims face medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages depending on the type. For instance, unless someone catches the issue early, some STDs can cause sterilization, congenital infections, and even terminal illnesses. When this kind of suffering at stake, consider discussing your case with a San Diego attorney. As with any case, we ensure your privacy.
Can You Sue Someone for Giving You an STD?
In short, it is possible to file a lawsuit for an STD, but it does depend on the circumstances. California law holds that individuals have a duty to be aware of their own health when having sex with another party – as well as a duty to inform the sexual partner about any potential STDs the individual may have.
One of the clearest ways you can make a claim against someone who has infected you with an STD is negligence. As said, if someone has known (or should have reasonably known) he or she had an STD and didn’t disclose this information to his or her sexual partner, then he or she has acted negligently and must accept liability for any damages that occurred due to the infection. To pursue this type of claim, you will need to prove your sexual partner knew about the STD, then acted negligently by not informing you of it.
Another approach to such a case is suing for civil or sexual battery. The allegation in this type of case is that the defendant knowingly caused you harm by exposing you to an STD, thus committing intentional and unconsented harmful contact. Even if your partner did not intend to infect you, not informing you of his or her STD infection provided false grounds for you to give informed consent to sexual activity.
In some cases, victims suffer infection from an STD not from intercourse but instead from receiving improper medical treatment or infected donor tissue. If this happens to you, your case would then be a matter of medical malpractice.
California STD Crimes
In addition to these potential lawsuits, California also has three laws that outline crimes specific to HIV:
- It is illegal for anyone who has an infectious disease to expose him or herself to others. Likewise, exposing someone else you know has such a disease to others is also illegal.
- Anyone who knows he or she has an HIV infection may not donate bodily materials.
- Engaging in unprotected sexual activity with someone when you know you have HIV is a crime, with increased penalties if you engage in sexual activity with the intent to infect someone else.
If someone commits another sex crime while also violating STD laws, the punishment increases. For you experience the challenge of an STD in these circumstances, you may be able to recover more compensation based on the extent of your damages.
What Damages Can I Recover?
Infection or exposure to an STD can lead to many potential legal damages. Most likely, your case will involve seeking compensation for past and future medical bills, as well as any emotional distress you have experienced due to the situation. In some cases, you may even be able to recover lost wages due to the disease.
Some STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are easily treatable, but if victims don’t know their partners have an STD, then they won’t know to seek medical care. Without treatment, people with theses issues may suffer from infertility and serious infection – and any infection can be physically devastating. More dangerous STDs, like AIDS or HIV, can mean a life of medical issues for victims at best.
If you’ve become infected with an STD due to your sexual partner’s or another party’s negligence but aren’t sure if you have a case, then you should seek consultation with an injury attorney to learn your legal options.