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STDs And The Law: Can You Sue Your Partner If You Get An STD?

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In many states, an HIV positive person who has unprotected sex with someone without disclosing their disease can be prosecuted criminally in a court of law. This is especially true if the court finds that the transmission of the disease was intentional. But what about other sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, crabs and syphilis? Can you sue for those as well? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. However, most STD cases are not criminal proceedings. Instead, they are personal injury cases where the one harmed has to prove that they have been wronged by the defendant. These are often not clear-cut cases and can be difficult to win. But you can sue a sexual partner for giving you an STD in most states if you can prove the following: 

Your Partner Knew They Were Infected but Didn't Tell You

In many cases, this is difficult to prove. After all, many people have STDs and don't realize it. However, if you can prove that your partner knew they had a disease, you might have a case. You can do this by subpoenaing medical records and test results. Proving that your partner currently has the disease is not enough because they could have contracted the disease after you were intimate or they could argue that they got it from you. The records must show that your partner was infected before you engaged in sexual activity. 

Your Partner Knowingly Engaged In Unprotected Sex

If your partner used a condom or took precautions to protect you from the STD, you might not have a case. To be held liable in many states, the defendant must be found negligible in some way. The use of a condom might show that they weren't being negligent and, in fact, were trying to protect you. Even if the protection failed, the defendant might argue that they had no way of knowing that the precautions they were taking weren't going to work. 

You Couldn't Have Come Into Contact With It Elsewhere

If the person you're suing can prove that you've been intimate with multiple partners, they might place enough doubt into the court's mind regarding where you actually got the disease. If you can't prove that you got it from the defendant, you can't collect money and damages from them. 

Yes, it's possible to seek financial compensation for STDs with a personal injury claim. However, all states are different in how they handle and view these cases. To find out more about your rights and responsibilities, contact a personal injury attorney in your area.