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What is Defamation? Do I Have a Lawsuit?

What is Defamation? Do I Have a Lawsuit?

There are many different types of personal injury claims, some of which are more common than others. We’ve touched on the ins and outs of personal injury lawsuits that occur as a result of a car or bike accident as well as medical malpractice suits and even wrongful death, but what about defamation? When talking about defamation cases within the realm of personal injury law, it is important to note that they typically involve a false statement of fact that negatively affects the reputation of another individual. Even though defamation isn’t the most publicized type of personal injury claim, it is nonetheless important. One of the main differences between defamation cases and other personal injury lawsuits is that they do not occur as the result of someone else’s negligent behaviors, but instead the words of another person. If someone is spreading false statements about you and these statements have hurt your reputation or good name, you may be able to file a defamation lawsuit.

In large part because of the technology-centric society that we live in today, we have seen a rise in these types of cases. With the Internet and the popularity of various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we are constantly hearing about ‘cyber bullying’ and people using the Internet to spread hate and ill-will to others. Your reputation being harmed or ruined because of the words of another person is just as significant as suffering a personal injury that hinders your ability to live an enjoyable life. As knowledgeable personal injury lawyers, the Atkins & Markoff team wants you to know that we are here for you and are prepared to fight for your rights, and your reputation. If you have been hurt by another person’s words, you may be able to file a defamation lawsuit. In order to better understand your rights as they pertain to these types of cases, let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions about defamation.

What is defamation?

If another party intentionally or carelessly uses words that cause you emotional distress or depression, you may be able to sue that person and recover damages for the emotional harm you have suffered. Along the same lines, if someone uses words to ruin your reputation or name, you may also be able to take them to court and sue for defamation of character.

The bottom line: defamation is a legal definition that recognizes that words can hurt others. By law, the use of words to hurt another individual or defame them is prohibited. Before we go any further, we should make note that defamation covers both written (libel) and spoken (slander) words.

Is it difficult to prove defamation?

This will depend on your particular case and on a handful of factors. In order to prove defamation, you must be able to prove that the defamatory statements were published in some way. This could be in print, radio, or some other form of media. Second, you also need to be able to prove that the statements made about you or your character are false. You cannot sue someone for saying something about you that you simply disagree with, you must be able to prove that the statements made were untrue. Lastly, you must also be able to show that you suffered personal harm, distress, or depression as a result of the false statements. This can be challenging, which is why we recommend having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side.

If you think you may have a defamation lawsuit on your hands, contact an attorney from Atkins & Markoff today. We will go over your case with you and determine what your rights are, and what the next steps taken should be.