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California Laws on Transmitting STD

Feb 25, 2021 | California

According to California Health and Safety Code Section 120290 it a crime to willfully transmitting a communicable, infectious, or contagious disease. According to California Health and Safety Code Section 120290(a)(2), it is illegal to ignore the instructions of a health professional regarding transmitting an infectious disease.

How to Prove the Negligence?

One potential cause of action is negligence. With this type of claim, the plaintiff must be able to prove that

  • Defendant knew or should have known that he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease
  • Defendant owed the plaintiff the duty to disclose this information
  • Defendant infected the plaintiff with a sexually transmitted disease
  • Defendant’s action caused harm to the plaintiff

The keystone of a negligence claim is that the defendant owed the plaintiff the duty to disclose him the information about STD so that the plaintiff could make a decision about his wish or lack to be exposed to the disease. In some cases, liability for negligence lies if the defendant exposed the plaintiff to a sexually transmitted disease, even if the transmission didn’t occur. Usually, damages in this situation are based on the mental anguish and emotional distress.

Battery Cause of Action for Transmission of STD in California

A battery cause of action for transmission of a sexually transmitted disease involves the defendant’s intentional, unconsented and harmful contact with the plaintiff. In an STD case, while the plaintiff may consent to sexual contact, he is not consenting to a contact accompanied by the known risk of contracting an STD. Moreover, it is not necessary that the defendant had a specific intent to transmit the STD – going forward with sexual contact with the knowledge that transmission could occur is enough. For a civil battery claim, the victim must prove that the defendant has actual knowledge that he is infected with an STD, or is likely to have one.

How to Prove the Fraud in California?

In order to prove fraud, the plaintiff must establish the following:

  • Defendant knew that he had a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Defendant hide, concealed, or otherwise failed in his duty to disclose that knowledge with the intention to have sexual intercourse
  • Plaintiff contracted the disease as a result of sexual intercourse

Accordingly, a person who knowingly and intentionally fails to disclose knowledge of his sexually transmitted disease to a sexual partner can be held liable for any injuries sustained by the partner.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

A person who contracts an STD experience suffers emotional distress, including guilt, depression, anxiety, humiliation, or even self-destructive thoughts. An injured person can recover damages for such emotional distress and hold the person with STD legally liable. Frequently, a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress for transmitting an STD is brought along with another legal theory, such as negligence. This is because demonstrating the elements of emotional distress and determining damages is usually very difficult.

What is The Liability for Disclosing Another Person’s STD?

Generally, disclosure of another person’s HIV status is strictly prohibited, with narrow exceptions like court cases and medical procedures and. A violation of the statute can provide grounds for a civil lawsuit.

What Types of Damages a Plaintiff Can Recover?

In civil lawsuits, the plaintiff may be entitled to the following damages, including:

  • The medical costs to treat the condition and costs related to receiving psychological counseling after being infected by an STD
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • A jury may also award punitive damages to deter similar conduct in the future.

If you have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease and have questions about whether or not someone else may be held liable for the transmission of your infection contact KAASS LAW today at 310-933-5171.