Have I Been Defamed Online – Defamation Attorney
Not Sure If You Have Been Defamed Online?
Want to know if you may have a case? Well, read below!
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain
Before we start, here is a clear definition of Defamation or Slander:
“the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image.”
Generally speaking, there are two types of Internet defamation: libel and slander. These two words are often erroneously used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. Libel is defamation in the written word. Traditionally, libel pertained mainly to newspapers and magazines, as they were the predominant means of widespread written communication. But, as alluded to before, the Internet has made it easier to dabble in libel than ever before. Slander, conversely, is defamation from the spoken word.
There are three critical things to consider when deciding whether a defamatory statement should be taken to court or not.
- Must be harmful: Outrageous comments that lead to physical and/or emotional harm. Perhaps you lost your job over the lie? Had a nervous breakdown? Lost business opportunities?
- Must be a lie: Remember not all negative statements are considered defamatory. You can’t sue everyone who is rude to you. If an opinion is a legitimate one then more likely it will not be classified as defamatory. But if the comment was abusive and made to purposely ruin your reputation, you may have a case.
- Must have evidence: You will not have a case if it’s based on he said she said. You need proper evidence like audio recordings, screenshots, videos, letters etc.
- Must Identify: Can you prove that the accused made the statements and/or was referring to yourself?
Do you meet these key factors? If so, you may have a case.
Examples of defamation:
- Had a sexually transmitted disease.
- Committed sexual misconduct.
- Committed a crime.
- Unable to properly run a business
If “Mary Joe” wrote a statement via Facebook claiming you smell bad, this isn’t enough grounds for a lawsuit. Why? Because it is based on opinion and perhaps “Mary Joe” may truly believe you smell. Yes, you are probably offended (RUDE right?) especially since she shared it on social media but hurt feelings are not enough to consider legal action. But if “Mary Joe” wrote you smell like garbage because you are a homeless drug addict that cares about no one, then the statement is obviously false and unfortunately, would probably hurt not just your feelings but your reputation and career.
To possibly win a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant:
- Published or broadcasted an unprivileged, false statement of fact
- Caused material harm to the victim by publishing false statements
- Acted either negligently or with true malice
So if you are unsure whether you have grounds to sue or not, please look over our list before taking the next step!
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