Woman receives $900,000 after getting STD from dateRecently, an Oregon jury returned a verdict in favor for a woman in the amount of $900,000 in her personal injury lawsuit. The woman, a nurse, filed this lawsuit because she claimed that a dentist intentionally infected her with genital herpes. Although the dentist defended this suit and contended that the woman had consented to the sexual encounter and that he was unaware that he had the sexually transmitted disease during their sexual encounter, the jury in this case decided by the preponderance of the evidence, he was predominately at fault.

The two had met on a dating website and began a dating relationship. On the fifth date, the couple decided to have sex, but the nurse argued that she encouraged the dentist to use a condom, but noticed during the sexual activity that he was not wearing one. However, the jury believed that the nurse was 25 percent responsible for causing her own harm and the dentist 75 percent responsible and that he had committed an intentional battery since he had sexual intercourse with her while he knew that he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease and did so without her consent. When a jury finds that the evidence demonstrates that a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit shares some responsibility of the injury in which they have sustained, they have found the plaintiff comparatively negligent. Under the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, the amount of monetary compensation a plaintiff will receive will be in proportion to the assigned fault in which the jury rules. For example, since the jury found the woman 25 percent at fault, her monetary award was reduced by this amount.

But the crux of this lawsuit is should persons who are infected with a sexually transmitted disease be required to inform their prospective partners about their private medical condition prior to engaging in sexual intercourse? The answer to this question will depend upon the facts in each unique case and state laws. In most states, it is a criminal offense for a person to intentionally spread a sexually transmitted disease such as the HIV or AIDS virus. However, all states respect that a person has a right of privacy to not disclose personal facts about themselves, such as medical conditions, including venereal diseases, and prosecutors around the country have been reluctant to prosecute cases in which a sexually transmitted disease has been intentionally spread from one partner to another without his or her consent. One of the difficulties in which the government faces is proving factual causation in these cases, especially under circumstances in which the partners have had a very active sexual life.

Nevertheless there has been a recent national trend in civil cases filed against persons who intentionally infect other people with sexually transmitted diseases without their consent, especially those cases which pose a serious death consequence, like AIDS. If you have recently experienced a similar incident in which you were infected with a sexually transmitted disease without your consent, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about any available legal options in which you may have. You can discuss your situation with an attorney who specializes in this area of law and can give you advice about whether or not your claim has legal merit to recover damages in a lawsuit.