A Really Personal Injury: Herpes

31 January 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog

Just when you least expect it, a trip to the doctor confirms your worst fears: you have genital herpes. If you're like most, your thoughts will immediately go to your last few sexual encounters. You wonder who gave it to you, and you wonder who you might have passed it to as well. Herpes can affect people and show no visible symptoms and it's more prevalent than you think; the Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 1 in 6 people aged 14-49 actually have this sexually transmitted disease. Once you've come to grips with your infection, you may begin wondering if you have a legal course of action against the person who gave you this STD. Read on to learn about the three ways you may be able to gain some compensation or other legal recourse'.


There's a chance that the person who passed this disease along to you was unaware that they had it, but that does not prevent the courts from finding them negligent. The person you were with owed you a duty of care and they breached that duty. This means that everyone has a duty to use care when taking actions, such as having sex, and breaching that duty means that they did so in a negligent manner.

The courts have ruled that if a former partner should have known that they could have herpes, they had a duty to seek a diagnosis, seek treatment and to inform you of the potential risk. Failure to use protection and failure to be abstinent can point to negligence. Did you also play a part in this negligence? Likely so, but the courts may rule that your failure to use due car was secondary to the at-fault parties' negligence.


If you can show that a former partner knew they had herpes and lied about, you may be able to make claim for fraud. To show fraud, you must prove all three of the following elements:

1. One party lied

2. One party believed the lie

3. That party was injured by believing the lie.


This is the most serious charge to bring, and you must show proof that you would not have consented to sex had you known that one party had herpes. Your partner's lack of candor prevented you from giving full consent to the sexual encounter, which equates to sexual battery, in some states.

Unfortunately, herpes cannot be cured, but you may be able to get some financial or legal satisfaction and help set an example for others who spread this disease carelessly. Speak to a personal injury attorney, like one from Velde Moore Limited, for more information.