If you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from a person who knew they were infected, you are likely extremely angry and want a sense of justice. The civil justice system does not allow you to simply march into a courtroom and point fingers, however, and in order to file a viable legal claim, you must have what is referred to as a “cause of action.” This cause of action as well as the facts to support your claim must be set out in the complaint that you file to initiate the lawsuit. If you do not adequately make a proper legal claim, your case could be dismissed. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney representing you who understands how to identify the appropriate claim in your case.
In a case seeking damages for the transmission of an STD, there are generally two different legal claims that may be made. The following is a brief overview of the two claims and the differences in the two types of cases.
Sometimes, STDs are transferred because a person was reckless or careless. If a person is aware or should be aware that there is a risk of disease transmission and they act in a reckless or careless manner, the subsequent legal claim will be for negligence. In order to prove this type of claim, you must prove all of the following elements:
- The person had a legal duty to act in a reasonably safe manner by not concealing an STD or by trying not to spread the disease.
- The person breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused you to contract the STD and incur losses.
A person facing a negligence claim cannot use the defense that the transmission was unintentional because negligence does not require an injured victim to prove intent.
Battery is a claim in the category of intentional torts. A claim of battery requires proving the following:
- The person had the intent to commit an act.
- The act involved unwanted or offensive contact.
- The contact caused injury.
Transmission of an STD constitutes an unwanted and offensive contact and, if the person knew they had an STD and willingly failed to take certain preventative measures, the contact would qualify as a battery. However, in battery cases, the defendant can present the defense that the transmission was unintentional or unknowing and can defeat a battery claim. Note that the intent does not need to be to cause the specific harm as it would be in a criminal battery case. Instead, the intent must only be for the contact.
Contact an experienced Michigan STD injury lawyer for a free consultation
If you have contracted an STD due to negligence or an intentional act, you should consult with a Michigan personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of a legal claim. Call the office of Michigan Injury Lawyers at 888-454-0801 for assistance today.