Defamation is a false statement of fact that is negligently or intentionally published or communicated to a third party, causing damage or injury to the subject. Libel is a written defamatory statement. Slander is a spoken defamatory statement.
The law considers a statement defamatory if the subject is put to disgrace, contempt, scorn, disgrace, and ridicule in the mind of any faction of the community. Some statements fall automatically into the category of being defamatory or “per se.” This includes claiming that the plaintiff has committed a crime, has a terrible disease, or is incompetent in his or her profession or business.
FALSE STATEMENT OF FACT
A defamatory statement is a false statement of fact. This means opinions are not considered defamatory statements. If the statement is vague and an opinion, then it is not libel or slander. It doesn’t matter how rude it is. “I think John is dishonest” is a vague opinion statement. So, it is not considered a defamatory statement. But when someone says “John did not disclose the true amount of the budget which is $1 million,” then it becomes a defamatory statement. It is a statement of fact, it is very detailed, and it could damage John’s career. This is clear defamation.
A defamatory statement is one that is communicated or written to a third party. The law will not consider it a defamatory statement if it is only communicated to oneself.
If the subject of the defamation is a private person, the person who made the statement can only be liable under certain conditions, provided:
- The person who made the statement has an idea that it was false and defamatory
- He or she acted recklessly when considering the truth before making the statement
- He or she was negligent in determining whether the statement made was true or not
If the defamed is a public figure, he or she must prove the same thing as a defamed private individual. The only difference is that the public figure must show that the person who made the defamatory statement acted intentionally or recklessly.
Damage from defamation
Damage from being defamed is a loss of earnings and capacity to earn due to the defamatory statement. It also includes pain and suffering, humiliation, disgrace, and reputational damage.
If you plan to file a defamation lawsuit, then it is best to hire a lawyer who is an expert in the matter who can make sure you get what you deserve.