Florida Leads Nation in New HIV Cases—What Does This Mean for Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Sadly, on January 22, 2016, news sources revealed that Florida now leads the United States in new HIV cases, with Miami-Dade having the highest number of new cases. However, this is not, as of now, being treated as a health crisis by the governor or state’s top health officer. After four years of personnel cuts in the Department of Health—ultimately shrinking the size of county health departments—lawmakers are now seriously concerned that cutting back has ultimately lead to a sicker population in Florida by hampering HIV prevention efforts.
The Importance of Disclosure
One HIV caseworker in Florida noted how important it is to actually talk about the disease if you want to try to defeat it. This is actually relevant on a one-on-one level as well, as, if you know you are HIV positive and you engage in behavior that has the potential to make someone else HIV positive (without warning them), you could actually be sued in a personal injury lawsuit. Thus, aside from the state of Florida potentially neglecting the issue, negligence is also occurring on an individual level.
In fact, anyone can be sued for transmitting not only HIV, but any sexually transmitted disease (STD) in an injury lawsuit. In the same way that a driver has a duty of reasonable care to other drivers on the road, people have a duty to know if they are infected and disclose it to a sexual (or other) partner if it’s possible to contract the disease. In these instances, if you know you are HIV positive (or positive for another STD) and fail to disclose this to your partner, you are likely to be found liable for their resulting injury because you have behaved negligently. And although a case in which actual transmission took place is stronger, you could still be sued even if you simply exposed someone to HIV or another STD and they didn’t contract it.
In addition, you could be charged with battery for transmitting an STD to someone else because there has been intentional, unconsented harmful contact with an unknown risk of contracting an STD—even if you had no intention to transmit the disease.
Health Care Providers Also Sometimes Responsible
It is also entirely possible for a health care provider to expose a patient to a disease, in which case they too are liable for any associated injuries or resulting death. In the past, this has happened to people due to infected needles and/or blood transfusions.
Clearwater Personal Injury Attorneys
Medical expenses don’t just result from car accidents, but from a variety of negligent activities. These are all losses that the law recognizes and the person responsible should be held liable, regardless of the specific set of circumstances.
If you have been injured by being exposed to a disease, call Clearwater personal injury attorney Mike Walker and let him get to work helping you. Attorney Mike Walker deals with all forms of personal injury, and serves Clearwater and surrounding areas of Florida.