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Can I Seek Compensation for Contracting a Disease/STD/Illness from Another?

As highly communicable and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have become more prevalent, it is increasingly important to protect yourself. Unfortunately, too many people have found that relying on others to disclose their condition is not enough. If you have been infected with an STD or other disease by a partner who either lied about their status or failed to disclose their condition, you could be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. While it may not restore your physical health, it could help offset some of the medical costs you are likely to incur.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Over STDs

Oregon was one of the first places in the country in which a personal injury lawsuit over an undisclosed STD was successful in court. OregonLive reports that the suit was filed in 2012 by a Beaverton woman, who contracted genital herpes after having sex with a man she had been dating.

The man failed to disclose the fact that he was a carrier of the herpes virus until after the sexual act occurred. When the woman experienced an outbreak 11 days later, she filed a lawsuit against him. She eventually succeeded in obtaining a jury award for $900,000 in damages, based on her medical expenses, pain and suffering. The following were questions the jurors were asked to consider:

  • What obligation did the accused have to admit he had a communicable disease prior to having unprotected sex?
  • Did he not realize, as his defense lawyer claimed, that the disease was communicable despite the fact he had no existing lesions?
  • Should the fact that the woman was infected by a communicable disease that impacts roughly one out of every six adults impact the amount of damages she was entitled to claim?

Oregon has no laws directly addressing this situation. In the above case, the jurors awarded compensation on the basis of physical battery. They found the man guilty of engaging in an activity that, whether intentionally or not, caused physical harm to the victim.

Filing A Civil Suit for Assault

Battery is one of several criminal statutes listed under Section 165 of the Oregon Revised Code which may be used in seeking compensation for those who were unwittingly exposed to a communicable disease or illness. While typically used in criminal cases, getting a conviction requires a high burden of proof.

A civil claim based on violations of the criminal code offers a better chance for success. Through a personal injury lawsuit, not only does the victim get compensation for the injuries they suffer, but it sounds a loud message to others regarding the importance of full disclosure.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been exposed to an STD or a communicable illness due to the reckless actions of another, contact our Portland personal injury lawyer online right away. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the impacts you are likely facing. We can arrange a free, confidential case consultation to discuss your situation and the types of compensation you may be entitled to. Call or contact us online today.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.