Defamation refers to a false statement that is made against an individual through intentional or neglectful actions that are made public to third parties. Typically, these statements will damage the individual who was defamed. Defamation consists of two types: libel and slander. Libel is a false statement that is made through written matters, while slander is a false statement that is made through verbal means. The way that a statement becomes defamatory is when the results of this statement leave the victim ridiculed, disgraced, and even scorned in the eyes of another individual or community.
Some statements have been deemed to be automatically defamatory in various states. Some of those statements include:
- Stating that the victim has committed an immoral or serious crime
- Stating that the victim has infected another person with a disease, and
- Stating that the victim is inept at their profession or job
An aspect that needs to be considered when filing a claim with a defamation lawyer is that the statement must be a fact, not an opinion. If it is simply the opinion of an individual, then it would not be considered defamatory. Everyone has their right to give their opinion about another person. So, what makes a fact and an opinion? For example, stating that John is lazy would be an opinion, but stating that John stole an item from a store would be a statement of fact. If it turns out that John did not steal anything, then the individual who stated that could be sued for defamation if John was hurt by that statement. Understanding the difference may be hard to determine in some cases which are why the need of an attorney that represents victims of defamation may required.
Third Party Statement
In addition to the statement needing to be a fact, the statement must have been addressed to a third party. Just because a defamatory statement has been made, it does not mean that liability for that statement will surge. There must have been an inappropriate act made by the defamer. The one who made the statement can be held liable for defamation only if one or more of the following is present:
- Knowledge that the statement was defamatory and false
- Acted in disregard of what the truth or falsity of the statement (had doubts) was while making the statement, or
- Did not find out the truth before making the statement
Filing a claim for defamation requires various elements for it to be considered a defamation statement. If defamation has caused damages to the victim like loss of their job, the victim can speak with a skilled attorney of defamation at Percy Martinez Law Firm to help them reveal the truth.