Injuries are not always physical; injuries to a person’s reputation can hurt just as much and have far-reaching effects. While people in the United States have a right to freedom of speech, a person also has the right to protect one’s reputation; thus, defamation cases occur when someone says or publishes false and malicious comments about another person. The most important thing to remember when pursuing a defamation case is that the claims must be false and that the speaker must have made the claims with malicious intent. Spoken defamation is called slander. Defamation that is published is libel; published works include pictures in addition to words.
Defamation claims often stem from comments that another person makes that cause scorn or disgrace to another person. While defaming comments are made every day, it is rare for someone to pursue a defamation case. To prove that a comment or publishing was not defamatory, the accused must do one of three things. First, the accused can prove that the statement is true. Second, the accused can show how he or she had a duty to provide the information, such as in a judicial proceeding. Finally, the accused can claim to just be expressing an opinion. Most cases do not make it to court and are either settled or the victim gives up. Those that do make it to court and are not thrown out often result in monetary damages or a public apology.
If you or the loved one has been defamed, you need a personal injury attorney that understands the emotional and physical toll that defamation took on the victim’s reputation. The attorney should be aggressive in seeking the compensation that you deserve.