Is it Hard to Sue Someone for Giving You Herpes?
Filing a lawsuit against someone who gave you herpes can be very difficult for many reasons. First, it can be extremely embarrassing to sue someone over such matters, with intimate details about your sexual history, your sex life and the impact of the STD revealed in court.
Next, it is difficult to prove that either the defendant knowingly transmitted herpes to the plaintiff without disclosing the condition, or should have known they had it and transmitted it. Even if a plaintiff can prove the defendant had herpes when they had sex, it's hard to prove that the defendant was the one who infected the plaintiff with it.
What is Herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by 2 types of viruses – herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Symptoms of herpes start about 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. They may include:
- Pain or itching around the genitals
- Small bumps or blisters around the genitals, anus, or mouth
- Painful ulcers that form when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed
- Scabs that form as the ulcers heal
- Painful urination
- Discharge from the urethra
- Discharge from the vagina
Is it a Crime to Give Someone Herpes?
A person convicted of intentionally transmitting herpes can face several criminal penalties. Depending on the state laws, the crime is categorized as either a misdemeanor offense or a felony (it also depends on the severity of the case).
Regardless of the state, however, getting convicted for intentional transmission of herpes can make the offender face fines, jail/prison time, and probation.
How Common are Herpes Lawsuits?
Herpes transmission lawsuits are rare because, as stated above, it is difficult to prove a "preponderance of the evidence" -- in other words, that someone "more likely than not" intentionally infected another.
Criminal charges also are rare. Some states specifically outlaw the intentional spread of any STDs. Others criminalize only the intentional spreading of HIV/AIDS because of the disease's serious, life-threatening nature.
Is There a Cure for Herpes?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes. However, daily use of antiviral medications can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral drugs may also reduce the risk of spreading herpes to others.
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The Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers focusing on plaintiffs' representation in lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new legal challenges in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one was involved with such matters, you should contact Schmidt & Clark immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.