When you think of personal injury, there are plenty of different things that might come to mind. From taking a tumble in a wet storage room, getting knocked on the head by falling lumber, or even something as simple as a kitchen burn. When it comes to personal injury, it can look plenty of different ways. But, one form of personal injury that many overlook, is injury to your character or mental state. Defamation cases cover defamation of character, slander, and libel. These three different forms of personal injury don’t show on the surface of your skin or in an x-ray. Instead, they hurt your character, business, mental state, or something of the like.
Defamation of character, slander, and libel all cover similar areas. However, there are some differences between the three that many don’t understand… Instead, they hurt your character, business, mental state, or something of the like.
Defamation, Slander, and Libel: A Different Type of Personal Injury
First off, what are these three types of personal injury?
Defamation of Character
Defamation cases cover a false statement, presented as truth, that results in damage to the reputation or character of the person the statement was made about. Maybe a coworker makes a comment that you’re an alcoholic, a thief, or a pervert. For whatever reason, your coworker has made up a lie about you. Now, their words are hurting your reputation and ability to perform your work duties properly. This is defamation of character.
Your coworkers, employers, and other staff are looking at you differently. Therefore, you might want to consider a defamation lawsuit. Keep in mind that these lawsuits are there for when your character takes a hit, not just if you’re angry. If someone comes to you, and you alone, and accuses you of something— that is not enough for a suit. Rather, it has to be a statement, presented as fact, to more than one person.
Slander and Libel as forms of defamation
Libel and slander are more specific when it comes to defamation cases. Slander, for example, covers statements made orally. Defamation can be in any form— from a speech, an email, a blog, or something of the sort. However, slander comes in one form.
Libel is also one aspect of defamation cases. Defamation cases of libel refer to statements put in writing of some sort.
Understanding Opinion and Intent
Two of the most important things to understand when it comes to defamation cases are opinion, and intent. While the lines are thin, there is a big difference between giving your opinion, and defaming character.
Opinion is something that you cannot prove true or false. Instead, it’s merely the way someone feels about you. If someone doesn’t like you, and tells other people that, it’s pesky, but not enough to warrant defamation cases. However, if someone goes around telling others that you break into cars, or assault your spouse— these are accusations of legal wrongdoing. Furthermore, if the statement is entirely false— it can defame you, and you have a case.
After deciding whether this person has either given their opinion, or defamed you, then you have to determine intent. This means that the person who made the statement must have known it was untrue. Or, maybe they told other people before questioning, or even if they were unsure of the truth.
Statements that are untrue can often affect your ability to uphold respect. Furthermore, they can also affect your ability to maintain your reputation, or even to receive promotions. Therefore, you should treat this issue as you would any other personal injury case. You can divide defamation cases into different categories. But, the issues that arise for the victim are all the same. Don’t let yourself fall victim to false statements without penalty.