Can You Sue for Getting an STD?
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. The AP reports that chlamydia has hit a new record in 2008 with 1.2 million new cases of the disease. The sexually spread disease is often symptomless, but one of its devastating effects is that it renders women infertile. It was the most STD cases ever reported to date for the disease.
Other STD cases have been on the rise too. Approximately 13,500 cases of syphilis have been reported in 2008. It was on the verge of being an extinct disease in the United States ten years ago. This means that there is a surge in new cases for this particular STD. Syphilis can be fatal.
The other two STDs that have seen a steady rise are HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and herpes. The STD cases for both of those reach in the millions. There is currently no cure for herpes.
If there are so many new cases of these STDs, it seems like there will soon be a rise in lawsuits about STD transmissions.
The tort for STD transmission is called wrongful infection of a sexually transmitted disease. This may be a lawsuit that you would want to consider if you are an unmarried individual who has unknowingly contracted an STD from a known sexual partner.
What do you need to know if you want to proceed with an STD Case?
Consider The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is how much time you have as a plaintiff to file a lawsuit. Typically for a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations runs for five years, but this will vary by state. The tricky part is figuring out when it starts.
In general, it starts when the plaintiff discovers the injury. In this case, it is when the plaintiff discovers that he or she has an STD. It could be when the plaintiff started suffering from STD symptoms or even when the plaintiff has been officially diagnosed with the disease by a doctor.
Consider The Type of STD
The type of STD will actually help the court decide how much relief you can actually collect. The more severe the consequences of the STD, the more relief you will ultimately be granted if you prevail in your lawsuit.
Consider the Damages
Seeking damages for wrongful transmission of an STD is justifiable, but it is tricky. Courts can only allow a certain amount of monetary damages.
Unless a plaintiff can illustrate that there are problems that will burden the him or her for the rest of his or her life, it will be difficult to recover excess damages.
Some possible damages could include life long medical care and treatment as well as related treatment such as counseling. In some rare cases, even punitive damages can be given. However, please keep in mind that this is only in severe cases.
Consider the STD Case and the Evidence
The lawsuit must be able to prove with evidence that the defendant knew that he or she had an STD. The defendant must knowingly have transmitted the disease to the plaintiff. This can be proven with medical records, the defendant's own words, or even the defendant's previous sexual partners.
The plaintiff has to prove that he or she was unaware that the defendant had the STD. The plaintiff must also prove that infection was indeed caused by the defendant and no one else.
If you feel that you have been the victim of wrongful infection of an STD, you do have legal recourse. Please visit our Related Resources for more information.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Ex-Girlfriend Ilya Dall Sues Roberto Alomar for $15M in AIDS Bombshell (Findlaw's Common Law)
- Settlement reached in Michael Vick herpes case (NBC)
- California Supreme Court Opinion on AIDS Liability (Findlaw)
- STD Transmission FAQ (provided by Pingelton Law Firm)
- Personal Injury Overview (provided by The Donahey Law Firm)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.