Interestingly, it has been done. Starting in 1995, when a young woman named Catherine Leleux sued the government for damages because her naval recruiter and lover gave her genital herpes. She was awarded approximately $500,000 for her personal injury. However, on appeal the award didn’t hold up.
So, is it possible to sue a sexual partner or former partner for giving you a sexual disease such as congenital herpes, even if that partner was your spouse or former spouse? In fact, the answer is yes you can. In California, there is an STD law that essentially states it is a criminal act if someone intentionally infects you as the sex partner with a harmful STD virus. Even if the infecting person wrongly assumes that herpes or another sex infection cannot be transmitted because he or she is not having an active outbreak, the person can still be held responsible.
You may know that negligence means that one person’s careless or reckless or intentional actions caused harm to another person. It appears that not informing the sex partner of potential harm that may ensue as a result of having sex may be considered negligent.
The law states that those who have suffered a harmful STD as a result of negligence may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, not just in the present but future suffering, humiliation and embarrassment, medical bills relating to the treatment, including future medical bills, lost work, and other damages related to the medical condition.
A recent case, Behr V. Redmond, 193 Cal. App. 4th 517, from 2011, resulted in the woman being awarded 2.75 million in punitive damages, $500,000 for past non-economic loss, and $1 million for future pain and suffering.
It could be that your sex partner’s homeowner’s insurance could cover the claim, as there has been legal precedent for this. As well, if you were infected in a hospital or clinic, you may also legal grounds to file suit.
If a person has HIV or the AIDS virus, failure to inform the partner of this virus can result in actual criminal prosecution. California has a law that considers having sex without informing the partner of the HIV/AIDs willful exposure, if there was specific intent to infect the innocent partner, which is a felony. On conviction the infecting partner can be sent to prison for a maximum of eight years. A criminal case would be separate from a civil personal injury case.
Questions About Suing Someone for Giving You an STD?
If you or someone you know has suffering harm due to a partner infecting them recklessly or negligently or intentionally with a harmful STD, we are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights. We offer free consultations and will answer your questions. We work on a contingency fee basis, so that you pay nothing until we win an award for you. To contact J. Lewis & Associates, call 800-228-0507.