Can I Sue My Boyfriend Because He Gave Me Genital Herpes?
by Regena H
(San Francisco ,CA, USA)
Can I sue my partner ( ex boyfriend ) for knowingly infecting me or neglecting to tell me that her had genital herpes? We had been together for 2 years before i noticed anything.
Hey Regena H! Thank you for your question. I'm positive (pun intended) that many people in our community will benefit from my answer.
Being diagnosed with herpes whether it's genital or HSV-1 (cold sores) is often a very devastating experience for most people. But when someone finds out that their trusted partner knew she had it and didn't tell you about their diagnosis the devastating feelings are taken to a whole new level.
The fact that you could have had a choice about your own health leaves many people feeling a range of emotions towards their partners from anger to hurt to resentfulness and then eventually revenge.
I'm not an attorney but I'll give you my opinion based on my research and experience with genital herpes.
In some cases of when an incurable STD such as herpes has been transmitted to an unknowing partner, you may have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit and be rewarded money for your damages, physical pain and psychological suffering.
In many states, if someone fails to tell their sexual partner that they have a sexually transmitted disease such as herpes is grounds for criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit. In some states this failure to disclose can result in a felony conviction with up to eight years in prison.
Although jail time is usually reserved for HIV related cases, the legalities could also include herpes if the circumstances surrounding the transmission warrants a charge.
It is ultimately up to the local law enforcement and District Attorney to press charges. Although it might be unlikely, the possibility for a criminal conviction still exists.
It's important to know that filing a lawsuit because of non-disclosure is a serious decision that requires careful consideration. Not only from a legal standpoint but also from a civil standpoint too.
In most cases, STD's that are curable such as Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea do not provide sufficient grounds for legal action.
However, there has been successful suits brought against people who knowingly infected their partners. In 2005, Michael Vick was sued by a woman but the case was settled before the facts were revealed.
In order to build a successful case against your boyfriend you would have to prove that he actually transmitted the virus to you. This virus is so common that it may be difficult to prove unless you can show the court that you had a negative HSV blood test before you had sex with him. If you had a STD test before you had sex then you need to verify that HSV was one of the tested STD's. HSV is not commonly part of a standard STD panel.
You would also have to prove that his actions were willful and negligent. This is easy to prove if you can demonstrate that he was the person who transmitted the herpes virus to you.
It's worth a shot so my advice is to speak with an attorney. One that has a free consultation.
Let us know what direction you decide to go. Personally, I'd love to see this happen.
May Peace Be With You,
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