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Understanding Your Legal Rights: Can You Sue Someone for Transmitting Herpes?

Posted on: September 18, 2023

PN Editor
September 18, 2023

Understanding Your Legal Rights: Can You Sue Someone for Transmitting Herpes?

Key Takeaways:

  • Takeaway 1: It is possible to sue someone for transmitting herpes, but it largely depends on the laws in your specific jurisdiction.
  • Takeaway 2: The plaintiff must typically prove that the defendant knew they had herpes and intentionally failed to inform them before engaging in sexual activity.
  • Takeaway 3: It may also be necessary to prove that the defendant was the one who transmitted the virus, which can be difficult without medical evidence.
  • Takeaway 4: Successful lawsuits of this nature often result in compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, and sometimes punitive damages.
  • Takeaway 5: Despite the possibility of legal action, prevention through open communication about STDs and safe sex practices is always recommended.

Understanding Herpes and Its Transmission

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 typically causes oral herpes, which results in cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. However, it can also cause genital herpes through oral-genital contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is the usual cause of genital herpes.

The disease is highly contagious and can be transferred from one person to another through direct contact. This includes kissing, sexual intercourse, oral sex, and even skin-to-skin contact when the virus is active. It’s important to note that herpes can still be transmitted even if there are no visible symptoms thanks to asymptomatic shedding of the virus.

The Prevalence of Herpes in Houston, TX

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a high prevalence of herpes in Houston, Texas. The city has one of the highest rates of STDs in the country with a significant proportion being cases of herpes.

Data on Herpes Cases in Houston

The exact number fluctuates yearly but it’s estimated that about one out of six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2. It’s also worth noting that most infected individuals are not aware they have the disease due to lack of noticeable symptoms.

Legal Rights: Suing for Herpes Transmission in Houston, TX

In Houston, Texas, you have legal rights if someone knowingly infects you with an STD like herpes without your consent. Under personal injury law, victims can sue for damages resulting from negligence or intentional infliction.

However, these cases require careful consideration as they involve sensitive personal information and can be challenging to prove. It’s advised to consult with a legal professional who is experienced in STD transmission cases for guidance.

Evidence Required to Sue for Herpes Transmission in Houston, TX

Suing someone for herpes transmission requires substantial evidence. You need to prove that the defendant knew they had herpes, deliberately failed to inform you, and as a result, you contracted the disease.

Medical Records

Your medical records showing a positive herpes test after your involvement with the defendant are crucial. If possible, negative test results before your relationship can further strengthen your case.

Communication Evidence

Any form of communication where the defendant admitted they were aware of their status but chose not to disclose it can also serve as powerful evidence.

Precedents for Suing Over Herpes Transmission in Texas

There have been several lawsuits over herpes transmission in Texas. These cases often revolve around negligence or fraud if the person knowingly concealed their STD status.

One notable case involved a woman who won $1.5 million in damages after her partner knowingly infected her with herpes. This case set a precedent that individuals could be held legally responsible for transmitting an STD if they fail to disclose their status before engaging in sexual activities.

Approaching the Person Who Transmitted Herpes: A Pre-Legal Action Guide

Before taking legal action, it is important to approach the person who transmitted herpes in a calm and respectful manner. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s essential to express your feelings and concerns honestly.

How to Prepare for the Conversation

Firstly, gather all relevant medical records and any evidence that supports your claim. It may also be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional or counselor who can provide advice on how to handle this sensitive discussion.

Tips for the Discussion

During the conversation, stay focused on your feelings rather than blaming or accusing. Use “I” statements to express how you feel and what you need from them moving forward.

Potential Legal Consequences for Transmitting Herpes in Houston, TX

In Houston, Texas, knowingly transmitting an STD like herpes can have serious legal consequences. These may include criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and substantial fines.

Criminal Charges

If someone knowingly transmits herpes without disclosing their status, they could face criminal charges such as assault or reckless endangerment.

Civil Lawsuits

The victim may also file a civil lawsuit seeking damages for medical expenses, emotional distress, and other related costs.

Selecting the Right Lawyer for a Herpes Transmission Case in Houston, TX

Choosing the right lawyer is crucial when dealing with a herpes transmission case. You need someone who understands both personal injury law and sexual health issues.

Experience Matters

Look for lawyers with experience handling STD-related cases. They should be familiar with local laws regarding STD transmission and have a track record of successful outcomes in similar cases.

Consultation Process

Most lawyers offer free initial consultations. Use this opportunity to ask about their experience, approach, and fees.

Possible Defenses Against a Lawsuit for Transmitting Herpes in Houston, TX

If you’re facing a lawsuit for transmitting herpes, it’s important to understand your legal defenses. These may include lack of knowledge about your status, consent from the other party, or that the transmission did not occur as alleged.

Lack of Knowledge

One possible defense is that you were unaware of your herpes status at the time of sexual contact. This would require medical evidence to support your claim.


If the other party was aware of your status and consented to sexual activity anyway, this could also be used as a defense.

The Timeline of Resolving a STD-Related Lawsuit in Houston, TX

The timeline for resolving an STD-related lawsuit can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case. However, most cases follow a similar process: filing the lawsuit, discovery phase, settlement discussions or trial preparation, and resolution.

Filing the Lawsuit

The first step is to file a complaint with the court outlining your claims. The defendant then has a certain period (usually 30 days) to respond.

Discovery Phase

During discovery, both parties gather evidence through depositions, document requests and interrogatories. This stage can take several months or even years in complex cases.

Expected Compensation from a Herpes Transmission Lawsuit in Houston, TX

The amount of compensation you can expect from a herpes transmission lawsuit depends on various factors including medical expenses incurred due to infection and emotional distress caused by it.

Medical Expenses

You may be compensated for any medical costs related to diagnosing and treating herpes. This includes doctor visits, medication, and any necessary therapy or counseling.

Emotional Distress

In addition to medical costs, you may also be awarded damages for emotional distress. This can include anxiety, depression, and other psychological effects resulting from the infection.

Risks and Potential Negative Consequences of Suing Over Herpes Transmission in Houston, TX

While suing over herpes transmission may seem like a clear-cut path to justice, it’s important to understand the potential risks and negative consequences. These could include public disclosure of your personal health information, financial costs of litigation, and emotional stress.

Public Disclosure

Filing a lawsuit means potentially disclosing sensitive personal health information publicly. This could impact your personal and professional relationships.

Financial Costs

Litigation can be expensive. Even if you win your case, the financial cost of pursuing a lawsuit can be significant.

Criminal Prosecution Possibilities for Knowingly Transmitting Herpes in Houston, TX

In some cases, knowingly transmitting herpes can result in criminal prosecution. The severity of these charges varies depending on the circumstances but can include charges such as sexual assault or battery.

Sexual Assault Charges

If someone knowingly transmits herpes without consent from their partner, they could face sexual assault charges.

Battery Charges

In some cases, knowingly transmitting an STD like herpes could be considered a form of battery.

The Necessity of Disclosing Personal Sexual Health History When Suing Over Herpes Transmission

When filing a lawsuit over herpes transmission, it is necessary to disclose your personal sexual health history. This includes any previous STD diagnoses or treatments you’ve received.

Importance of Full Disclosure

Full disclosure is crucial for establishing credibility with the court. It also helps your lawyer build a strong case on your behalf.

Privacy Concerns

While it’s necessary to disclose this information, your lawyer will take steps to protect your privacy as much as possible.

Maintaining Anonymity During a Lawsuit over STD transmission

Maintaining anonymity during a lawsuit over STD transmission can be challenging but is often possible. Your lawyer can advise you on the best strategies for protecting your identity throughout the legal process.

Using Pseudonyms

In some cases, you may be able to use a pseudonym in court documents and proceedings to protect your identity.

Sealing Court Records

Your lawyer may also request that certain court records be sealed or redacted to further protect your privacy.

It is possible to sue someone for transmitting herpes, depending on the laws in your jurisdiction, if you can prove they knowingly exposed you to the virus without informing you.

Is it a crime to give someone herpes?

In California, it is against the law to knowingly transmit an STD to another person as per the California Health and Safety Code 120290. Individuals can be held legally responsible for intentionally infecting others or indirectly causing others to be infected through a third party.

Do you legally have to tell someone you have herpes?

Taking legal action in such cases may be challenging. Even though the law might not mandate the disclosure of a herpes diagnosis to potential sexual partners, Planned Parenthood emphasizes the importance of disclosing such information to help prevent the spread of the disease. The statement was made on December 16, 2022.

How can you prove someone gave you herpes?

An IgG blood test is crucial to get right away. A negative result would indicate a recent Herpes virus transmission. Concurrently, an IgM blood test should also be taken.

Can you go to jail for giving someone herpes in New York?

In New York, it’s a criminal offense under Public Health Laws for a person aware of having an STD to engage in sexual activity with another person. Transmission of the STD is not required for a conviction. Penalties could include a jail term of up to 364 days and a fine of $1,000. (N.Y.Jun 14, 2023)

Can I sue a man for giving me herpes?

Is it possible to take legal action against someone for transmitting herpes? Yes, it is. Individuals with herpes are legally required to inform their sexual partners about their condition, whether they are in a committed relationship or not. Not informing a partner or not getting tested for herpes when there’s a potential risk of infection is considered negligent.

How do you apologize for giving someone herpes?

When you apologize, it’s crucial to demonstrate understanding and sensitivity towards the other party. They might be coping with physical consequences due to the STD or dealing with a variety of emotional responses. Inquire about their wellbeing and if there’s anything you can do to assist them. (June 26, 2023)

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