Stds And The Law: Can You Be Charged With A Crime For Infecting Someone?
Anytime you hear about personal injury lawsuits, thoughts typically turn to slip and fall accidents, injuries in a drunk driving accident, and the like. What you may not have thought of is the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease. If someone knowingly and willingly transmits an STD to another person when the other person is not aware of the illness, that person can be charged with a crime. Because an STD is often a delicate aspect of a person's life, he or she may not always be forthcoming with a partner initially. If a relationship moves forward and one has not been honest about their medical condition, it can result in a transmission. The following charges can then be brought against the person who transmitted the disease:
Causing Harm Due To Negligence
Negligence can be defined as the process of bringing harm on someone else in a reckless manner. In order to be proven negligent in an STD case, it will require proof that the person with the illness failed to exercise reasonable judgment to prevent the transmission. If he or she does not exercise the duty of care to prevent the action, it can result in damage to another person. The plaintiff in the case will have to prove that their partner failed to disclose their illness before the transmission.
Battery Causing Injury
Battery refers to one person intentionally causing harm to another. STD cases in which the other person was not aware of the status of their partner can be considered battery in the eyes of the law. Battery cases provide that the person committing the crime not only be punished by incarceration, but also financially responsible for medical expenses of the person who was injured. Battery charges can often result in jail, large fines, and possibly registration as a sex offender.
The Issue Of Consent
In some states, there are laws in place that address consent. They are designed to protect STD transmission victims even if they did consent to the act. What this means is if someone becomes infected with an STD after knowingly participating in the act, the person with the disease can still be held legally liable.
Keep in mind that laws regarding STD transmission will vary among different states. However, in most instances, the intentional transmission of the illness will result in legal problems. Always be up front about STDs and take precautions to prevent transmission.
Contact a professional such as Attorney Gary G. Norris for more information.