For a long time, there has been the saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cannot hurt me.” While this is a good adage, words actually can cause harm and that is the basic premise of defamation. There are two types of defamation. The first type is slander which is spoken words that are false and are damaging to the individual’s reputation or status in the community. The second type of defamation is libel, which is a publication (e-mail, newspaper article, website . . .) that provides false information that is damaging to another individual.
It is relatively tough to bring defamation law suits. First, all elements of the personal injury have to be proven. Additionally, many people misunderstand what it means to have false, damaging words spoken or written about them. The most important thing to understand is that someone’s opinion is not a false statement. The easiest, and most applicable, way to convey this is in the context of an employment relationship. A potential employer can call a former employer and the former employer can say that the employee was disorganized and unproductive. This would not be considered defamation as it is simply the employer’s opinion on the employee’s work production. However, if the employer said the employee was a thief and cursed on the job, when that was not true at all, there would be a case for defamation.
Looking at this type of personal injury, it is far easier to prove libel defamation as the false and damaging words are printed out, in some form or publication, as opposed to slander which is spoken words. It is much simpler for the court to look at words printed out on a document rather than to hear testimony of what an individual said about another individual. In the long run though, defamation is a potentially serious form of personal injury, as it goes to the credibility and reputation of an individual. Many times individuals get away with saying untrue statements about someone else and this needs to be prevented from happening.
If you live in West Palm Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie or the surrounding areas and have been wronged by someone saying or writing false things about you, contact us today to fight back. Find out if you have a case.