Defamation, Libel and Slander Claims

Libel and slander are both injury claims that are made when false statements, represented as fact, are made about a person via word of mouth, printed materials or broadcasts.

Slander is the more difficult of the two to prove, as it refers to false statements that are spoken, or gestures, that are not recorded, written or documented in a permanent way.

Libel refers to false statements, pictures, recordings or broadcasts made about a person. Both of these personal injury claims are often referred to as defamation.

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What is Defamation?

Defamation refers to the damages caused by libel or slander. In order for there to be defamation, a person's character or reputation must have suffered harm as a result of the false statements that were made about them.

The false statements must have been communicated to another person or group of people and specifically about the person who files the claim.

Statements that are simply rude or generally insulting are not considered defamation. The false statements must have been made through the fault of the defendant.

With private citizens, there generally only needs to be proof that the defendant was negligent in making the damaging false statements.

However, with celebrities or public officials, there is usually a greater burden of proof and the person filing the defamation lawsuit must prove that the defendant knew that the information was false and that they acted with malice in making the false statements.

Legal Defense for Defamation

The perfect legal defense to slander or libel claims is that the statements made are true.

Another strong defense to defamation claims is one there can be no damage to a person's good reputation and character if they have no character to damage and an already poor reputation.

Burden of Proof

As with all civil lawsuits, in libel and slander cases the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. If the proof of defamation is made, a plaintiff may collect financial compensation for damages and in some cases may also be awarded punitive damages.

Appeals may be made on the basis of First Amendment rights.

Celebrity Victims of Defamation

Celebrities often become victims of libel when the media publishes outlandish false statements about them, generally in an effort to sell more magazines or financially benefit in some other way.

Although some multi-million dollar awards have been made to celebrities who have been victims of libel by the media, many of these awards have been reversed on appeal or the cases have settled out of court, according to a report by the Media Law Resource Center.

Legal Options for Libel and Slander Claims

Avoid costly legal mistakes and delays in your personal injury claim! Total Injury can connect you with a local personal injury lawyer who may be able to help if you have suffered defamation through libel or slander.

State laws vary and there may be time restrictions on filing a personal injury claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area today.

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The above summary of libel and slander claims is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on libel and slander claims, speak to a personal injury attorney in your area.

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