Suing For An STD: When You're The Victim Of An Intimate Partner's Negligence

Posted on: 6 May 2019

There are some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that are hard to detect. If you've recently been diagnosed with an STD, there's always the possibility that your intimate partner didn't know that he or she had any kind of infection that could be transferred.

Then again, it's also a possibility that he or she knew about the STD and purposefully didn't warn you because of fear that you'd reject his or her advances. Depending on the knowledge your partner had of his or her condition, you may have a viable lawsuit. Here are a couple of things that would have to be considered?

Were your partner's actions negligent, reckless, or willful?

You have the right to sue someone for damages any time you are injured due to that person's negligent, reckless, or willful act. Your intimate partner may have been negligent, for example, if he or she contracted the STD during sex with someone else and passed it onto you while leading you to believe that your relationship was exclusive, even if he or she didn't realize that he or she was infected. 

Recklessness would be something like what might happen if your partner knew full well that he or she had herpes and simply took the chance that you wouldn't catch it because he or she didn't have a noticeable outbreak at the time of your encounter. Willful behavior, on the other hand, would be something like a partner who intentionally infects you with an STD for some reason, which has happened to some people.

Any of these situations could lead a jury to conclude that a reasonable person would have not acted that way, which would make your partner liable damages.

What are the state laws regarding the disclosure of sexually transmitted diseases?

While federal law doesn't mandate infected people disclose their STD status to intimate partners, quite a few state laws address the issue. For example, in California, engaging in sexual activity after an HIV-positive diagnosis without warning a partner in advance is a felony.  In New York, anyone with any STD diagnosis has to give a potential partner warning.

In many cases, the fact that someone knowingly hid their infected status from an intimate partner is tantamount to sexual battery. The lack of disclosure negates any consent for the sexual encounter. 

What injuries did you suffer as a result of the infection?

In order to have a viable case, you have to be able to prove that you suffered real damages as a result of the infection. That might be difficult with an easily-curable STD, like gonorrhea, which can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics. On the other hand, if you're afflicted with something that's not curable, like herpes or HIV, you likely have a strong claim for compensation.

To find out more about what you can do if you were infected with an STD, talk to a personal injury attorney today.


Always Know Your Renter's Rights

After my mother suffered a fall on the icy steps of her apartment building, I learned a lot about renter's rights, and I want to share my story and tips to help others. My mother was extremely afraid to pursue action against the apartment owners who were at fault for her fall due to fear she would be kicked out of her apartment. I found out that there are state laws that protect apartment renters from retaliation for asserting their rights as renters. However, it is very important to have any attorney on your side when you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an apartment owner; the owner is less likely to even try to illegally evict you if they know you have an attorney already on your side. I hope you can learn a lot from my story and the other tips I share on this blog!