If you have reason to believe you got an STD from a partner, it is understandable to wonder whether you can sue someone for giving you an STD. The simple answer is, Yes, however there are strict legal rules that your claim must pass.
In this article, we will discuss the circumstances under which you can sue someone for giving you an STD, what the law says, how to prove your claim and answer some related questions. Kindly read on to know more.
Can you sue someone for giving you an STD?
Yes, if you have contracted a STD from a partner, there are legal avenues for you to seek damages for the harm caused, depending on the laws in your state and what your spouse or partner knew before the sexual intercourse.
Generally, you have to prove the following as a strong support when you sue someone for giving you an STD.
- That your partner indeed is the one who infected you.
- That he or she knew, or should have reasonably known that they had the STD.
- That they deliberately infected you with the STD.
- That you didn’t know about they had an STD.
How to sue someone for giving you an STD
You can sue someone for giving you an STD under four possible claims, with each requiring specific burden of proof which lies on you the plaintiff.
- Sexual Battery
- Wrongful transmission of sexually transmitted disease
Negligence in STD infection
If you have reason to believe that your partner knew beforehand, that they were infected with an STD, you can sue for negligence. As with all negligence cases, you have to prove that the partner had a duty of care to inform you of their STD status.
To successfully sue someone for giving you an STD under the negligence claim, the judge has to determine that a reasonable person under the circumstances, would not have sex without first informing his or her partner about the possibility of a STD infection.
Also for a negligence claim, intent is not required, therefore even if your partner used a condom or didn’t intend on deliberately infecting you, they would still be liable for damages if they failed the burden of duty.
You can sue someone for giving you an STD under the claim of Sexual battery. Sexual battery refers to sexual intercourse without consent, otherwise known as rape. The basis of the claim is that, even though you contracted the STD through consensual sex, you wouldn’t have consented if you were made aware that your partner had a sexually transmitted disease.
Effectively, you can make the claim that the intercourse amounted to sexual battery since if you were aware of the very real risk of contracting the STD, you wouldn’t have consented.
This, of course only stands if you can establish that the partner knew or should have reasonably known he or she had the STD but decided to keep you in the dark.
Wrongful transmission of sexually transmitted disease
Many states have legislation that requires that people with certain STDs disclose their status to partners before having any sexual encounter. These laws make it a criminal offense for an infected person to engage in sexual intercourse without disclosure of their status.
In such states, it would be easier to prove the liability when you sue someone for giving you an STD. This is especially the case when the STD is HIV.
For example in Florida, not declaring HIV status in sexual relations that are consensual, when donating organs or blood or engaging in sexual work is a Felony offense of the third-degree that can lead to the possibility of up to 5 years in prison, and up to an amount of $5,000 in fines.
If a partner lied or misrepresented their STD status to you, such as telling you they didn’t have HIV but actually was infected, you can make a claim of fraud. To prove fraud, you have to show that:
- Your partner indeed told you he or she didn’t have an STD, and that, the statement was false.
- That you believed same to be true and relied on their assertion to engage in consensual sex with them.
- That relying on their false representation of their STD status led to your infection.
Can you sue someone for giving you herpes?
Yes, you can sue someone for giving you an STD such as Herpes, but you will have to prove that:
- He or she knew, or should have reasonably known they had herpes.
- He or she is the one who infected you with the herpes.
- You didn’t know they had herpes.
Damages and punishment for giving someone an STD
Before you sue someone for giving you an STD, you must consider the possible damages that may be awarded. Excess damages are usually impossible unless you can prove that the STD is incurable and will be with you for a lifelong.
Even in such a case, the damages could include a lifetime of medical care for the STD. If the STD is curable, you may only get damages in the form of the needed antibiotics for STD treatment. It is therefore imperative to consider these before investing in expensive legal team to sue someone for giving you an STD.
In states where laws criminalize wrongful transmission of certain STDs, persons found guilty faces jail time and fines. According to the William Institute, in Florida, 154 persons have been incarcerated for HIV crimes with each person serving an average sentence of 3.4years in prison.
Can you sue someone for giving you an STD in Florida?
Yes, even though Florida has a law for Criminal HIV transmission, you can sue someone for giving you an STD in a civil process. The merits will be determined case by case. Primarily, you will have to show that the person knew or should have reasonably known they had the infection and did not tell you, this can be proven by their medical records or their own utterances.
You will also have to show that indeed it was the person who infected you and that you didn’t know they had the STD before the sexual encounter. Depending on whether you make a claim of negligence, sexual battery or fraud, the judge and jury will scrutinize the facts and make a determination.
It is indeed possible to sue someone for giving you an STD such as Herpes, HIV, among others, if only you can satisfy the burden of proof. Certain state laws already criminalizes sexual activity by an infected person without disclosing their STD status, using a protection or taking adequate prophylaxis or partner PREP.