Personal Injury Lawsuits for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STD transmission

A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is a disease caused by an infection that can be passed from one person to another through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or other body fluids, during various types of sexual contact with an infected partner. Though STDs are relatively common, they carry a stigma that makes some people reluctant to disclose their STD status to a partner and the intentional or negligent transmission of an STD can result in a personal injury lawsuit.

Can I sue for STD transmission in Washington State?

Yes; a person who contracts an STD from a partner who transmitted an STD without disclosing the risk to their partner could be sued in a lawsuit claiming negligence in Washington State. A negligence suit does not take intent into account, so a person could be sued even if they didn’t intend to spread the STD.

More commonly, the intentional transmission of an STD results in a civil lawsuit claiming battery. Unlike negligence, battery is an intentional tort so the laws regarding civil battery do take intent into consideration.

Either way, when a party is liable for the transmission of an STD, they could be forced to pay personal injury damages to the injured person to compensate them for their injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud.

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

When one person causes harm to another in a careless, intentional, or reckless manner, that is negligence. In order to hold an individual liable for negligence, the following elements must be proved:

  1. A duty of care existed
  2. That duty was breached through negligent behavior
  3. The negligent behavior was the cause of injuries
  4. The injured party suffered damages (pain and suffering, medical bills, etc.)

In general, we all have a duty to act in a non-negligent manner. When it comes to STDs, an infected person has a duty not to spread the disease or hide it from others when engaging in acts that could infect another person. If an individual willfully and intentionally has sexual relations with another with the intent of passing on an STD, it is very likely that battery has occurred, and that civil liability could follow. The intentional transmission of an STD could also be considered a crime.

What kind of STDs are most likely to be part of a civil suit?

Incurable STDs such as HIV/Aids, herpes, and some strains of genital warts are the most likely types of STDs to be part of civil suits. Curable STDs such as chlamydia do not generally warrant a personal injury lawsuit.

STDs and privacy

Because of the stigma around STDs, privacy issues can come up. Medical information is typically considered confidential and may only be released with the explicit permission of the affected individual. A medical professional who discloses a patient’s STD status can result in professional censure as well as civil charges for breaching the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If any individual reveals the diagnosis of an STD without the infected individual’s permission, it can result in lawsuits based on theories of intentional infliction of emotional suffering and/or negligence.

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.