If you have been sexually active, whether it is in a monogamous or serious relationship, or otherwise, you're always at some risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI). One of the most common STIs that many encounter is called "herpes" and its many strands. If you have recently been diagnosed, you should know that this is likely an infection without a cure.
First, you will want to speak with your doctor about the potential of taking antiviral prescription medicine to help reduce the number of painful and other symptoms you have. Through this stressful situation, you may be wondering if you have any legal rights. After all, how can someone just give me a disease or infection?
Suing someone for giving you herpes is possible. Instead of paying huge legal fees to an attorney, you can use small claims court to help you recover monetary damages for medical bills and suffering. This article will cover the basics on suing someone for giving you herpes.
Remember, you can always use GetDispute.com to generate, notarize and sign a small claim case for filing in 5 minutes from your phone or computer.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against Someone for Giving You Herpes
If you have contracted herpes, you can sue the person that gave it to you. Most states have laws against spreading herpes, and infected people are expected to take precautions against the further spread of the disease.
These precautions often include using protection, taking medication to limit the infectious period, and, most importantly, telling anyone of the risk before engaging in sexual acts that could spread herpes. Here are the main reasons that people decide to sue someone for giving them herpes.
- Civil Battery - In this situation, the victim will have contracted herpes from nonconsensual sex. This means that they were raped and later discovered that their attacker gave them herpes. This type of case will usually also come with assault charges against the person who hurt you, but you can also sue them for damages, pain, and suffering.
- Negligence - You can sue someone for giving you herpes if they lied about having an STD or if they knew and didn’t tell you beforehand. Again, any person infected with herpes is supposed to take precautions to prevent the spreading of the disease. If they fail to do so, it can be interpreted by the court as negligence.
- Personal Injury - A personal injury case is the type of lawsuit you will need to file to sue someone who gives you herpes. You can sue even if they were a spouse and the sex was consensual. In some cases, you can sue for any medical costs, past or future, for the disease they caused you. This is because they neglected their personal responsibilities.
In short, you can sue someone for giving you genital herpes in small claims court if you believe you can show some of the following is true:
- Had herpes while being physically involved with you.
- Did not disclose their herpes status to you.
- Did not do enough to prevent herpes transmission to you.
- Could reasonably know that intercourse could do harm to you.
- Did not do enough to prevent herpes transmission to you.
- Knew that intercourse could do harm to you.
What To Do Before Suing the Other Person
It's important to contact any person you plan on suing to see if you can amicably solve the issue prior to moving forward with the suit. Many small claims (and other) courts require you to give notice through the use of a demand letter, but it's also best practice to notify the other party because they may want to quickly solve the problem for you. Lawsuits can take weeks, or even months to resolve and you may find it takes longer to collect on your judgment. The steps below might help you reach a positive outcome faster:
- Contact the other party: Call, text or email the other party and ask them to fix the problem as you see it. Keep any records of this contact for your records.
- Send a Demand Letter - A demand letter is a letter that outlines a set of requests. A small claims court is most likely going to ask you to formally request your money or property back before you can file a lawsuit. While you can request your money or property back orally, it is best practice to do so in the writing of a demand letter.
What goes into a Demand Letter:
If you are unsure of what to include in your demand letter to the other party, don't worry. You will want to include the following:
- How much money you are owed
- Why you are owed money
- Your contact information
- Where to send payment
- Give them a few days to respond (usually about 7 to 14 days)
- State that if they don't respond, you intend to sue
You will want to mail the letter to the other person in order to give them the best chance at fixing the problem. Dispute can help you generate and send a demand letter via 2-day priority mail in just 5 minutes from your phone or computer as well.
How Much Does it Cost to Sue in Small Claims Court?
If the other person ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You may consider suing them in a small claims court.
Your first step will be to review any and all communications you have received from the other party. Your case may be contingent on showing the damages, negligence and/or civil battery discussed above.
The next step is understanding the fees you can expect. Primarily, those are court filing fees. The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in small claims court depends on how much you are suing the other party for. You can pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit depending upon the state and local county where you are filing. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court directly to waive the fees.
Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify the other party that you have sued them. This is called "serving."
Serving Costs can range from $0-$75 depending upon if you hire local law enforcement or a private process server.
It's important to remember, if you win your case, you can also request that the defendant pay for your court fees and serving costs.
How Much Can I Sue for in Small Claims Court?
In most small claims courts, you can sue for a maximum of $10,000. But it all depends on the limits set by the court where you plan to file.
By suing in small claims you are agreeing to waive any amount over the maximum amount you can sue for, even if you are owed more. For example, if someone owes you $11,000, and you decide to sue in small claims, you are waiving suing for an additional $1,000. Meaning that you will win a maximum of $10,000.
While you may be missing out on the full amount you are owed, there are practical benefits to suing in small claims instead of suing in civil court:
Here are some of the benefits:
- Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
- The process is faster in small claims than in other courts as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
- Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims which helps keep the costs of suing low.
How Do I File a Small Claims Lawsuit?
Step 1: Complete the Necessary Legal Forms to File
After sending your demand letter, you’ll want to file a statement of claim. This is the official state small claims form. For this form, you'll need the following information:
- The courthouse you’d like to file in
- Reason for the lawsuit
- Claim amount ($)
- Name and address of the person/business that is being sued
Small Claims forms can be difficult, and mistakes prevent your case from successfully filing. Experts at Dispute file paperwork daily, and a full support team can help you find answers to your questions. Check out our package options for filing with us - you can choose different services based on your budget and needs.
Step 2: Serve the Defendant
Once your claim has been approved by the court, you are required by law to notify the defendant that you're suing them. Different courthouses have different regulations regarding defendant service. Some require service through mail, while you may need to find a private process server for others.
Other courts require the defendant to "answer” the claim and wait for that answer before deciding to hold a hearing. Contact your courthouse for their rules to better understand what you expect.
Step 3: Prepare for Court
You can take a few steps when preparing for your day in court.
- Gather evidence
- Prepare witnesses, if you have any
- Dress appropriately
- Show up on time
- Present your Case
Good luck with your case, and please contact us if you have any questions about our services.