In the age of social media, personal blogs, and online reviews, anyone can say virtually anything they want to and put their every thought and opinion online. With cellphones, people can also record video and post that, too. Depending on the content, their post or video may even "go viral," meaning it takes off like wildfire, being shared hundreds, thousands, or even millions of time in a relatively short time frame. But can people legally say or record whatever they want? What if you are their focus or in their lens? When most people think of personal injury law, they think of being physically injured by a product or an accident, but slander and libel also fall under personal injury law. Here's a closer look at slander, libel, defamation and the law.
What Is The Difference Between Slander, Libel, and Defamation?
Defamation is making untrue statements about someone. A lot of time it is referred to as "defamation of character" because the false statements defame the person. Obviously, lies about a person that are given as factual can cost a person their integrity, respect among their peers, coworkers, and community, and even cost them their job or other appointments.
Libel is a type of defamation that is made in writing or put in print, so anything that is knowingly posted online would fall under libel. Slander is another type of defamation, and it refers to lies that are spoken.
How Can Defamation Be Proven?
In order to prove defamation, you must be able to prove malicious intent. This means that the person knowingly wrote or spoke an untruth, not just had their facts wrong. Gray areas exist, too. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion about you, even if you don't like it. Stating an opinion is different than waging a campaign against you.
Additionally, if you are a celebrity or have a public persona, such as in politics, slanderous and libelous statements kind of go with the territory and intent is harder to prove, especially if one little word is added—allegedly. Lastly, there must be damage of some kind; defamation cannot just be hurt feelings. This doesn't mean there needs to necessarily be financial loss; it can be a loss of respect and reputation, for example, but some kind of damage must have occurred as the result of libel or slander.
Defamation cases aren't always clear-cut, and state laws may vary. If you feel you have been defamed, contact personal injury law services immediately to discuss your situation. Cases such as this require urgency on your part to aid in damage control.Share