Defining Defamation

Defamation occurs when you say or publish or convey any information that harms a person’s reputation or damages a person’s standing in the community. That person can file a civil suit against you seeking compensation for the suffering caused by the defamation. There are two types of defamation: libel and slander. Generally slander is spoken defamation while written or printed defamation is libel. Of the two, libel is more serious for the simple reason that written or printed messages are permanent and are passed from reader to reader. Written or printed messages are more intentional. The courts generally award higher damages for libel. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you are a victim of defamation. The person whose communication caused harm to your reputation can be made to pay compensation for the harm suffered by you.

The unconsented to and unprivileged intentional communication to a third person of a false statement about you which tends to harm your reputation in the eyes of the community is defamation. In a defamation lawsuit, the defendant can plead consent and privilege as affirmative defenses. If the defendant pleads such a defense, then the burden of proof is on the defendant. The law will presume harm to reputation if defamatory nature of the statement is obvious. In a defamation case, you must show that the defendant intentionally communicated a false statement about you to a third person and as a result of the statement, you are exposed a many things like public hatred, shame, obloquy, contumely, odium, contempt, ridicule, aversion, ostracism, degradation, or disgrace. Proving defamation requires skill and expertise. Leave it to the expert – an experienced personal injury attorney.

In a defamation lawsuit, you must prove only the intention to communicate something about you to a third party. You can file a lawsuit for defamation even the defendant intends to communicate to a third person but with no intention to defame or harm you. Even if the communication is negligently made, the defendant will be liable. So even if the defendant did not have any intention of causing any harm to you, you can still file a lawsuit for defamation. A person will be strictly liable for every intentional communication about you he or she makes to a third party if the communication is false and injures your reputation in the communication and you have not consented to the communication or the communication is not a privileged communication.

The principle is simple. You are responsible for the consequences of any communication you make about someone else to a third party. The courts generally consider defamation by radio, television or other mass communication media as libel. TV and radio have wide reach and you can imagine the consequences a defamatory statement made on a TV program can have on your reputation. Radio and television stations can also be held liable for defamation especially when it is possible to delete the defamatory statement before broadcast. Hire the services of an experienced personal injury attorney if you want to file a lawsuit for defamation.