If someone makes a false statement about you, whether written or spoken, to a third party, then you have been defamed. In Atlanta, Georgia, defamation is considered personal injury because it can cause damage to your character. There are two kinds of defamation, libel and slander. Libel is a written or published defamatory statement, whereas slander is a spoken defamatory statement. It is usually easier to prove libel, since spoken word disappears, but once something is published, it lasts for a long period of time and includes the physical evidence.
The Subject of Internet Libel in Your Personal Injury Claim
The internet can be wonderful, but it can also be dangerous. The internet has made it possible for anybody to communicate with everybody. Moreover, finding information about anything or anyone has never been easier. A person’s entire life history could become available to anyone in a single click. Of course, anything posted on the internet can take years to disappear or may even exist forever. Just one negative statement has the potential to cost you your reputation, business, and lifestyle. Internet libel is defined as a defamatory statement that is posted on the internet, through blogs, websites, social media, or even private message and email.
Internet Libel Can Cause Significant Damages to Anyone
Internet libel can cause more harm than you might think. It can destroy personal relationships, affect the profits and survival of a businesses, and cause immense social embarrassment. It can also affect any future potential job opportunities. Defamation could also lead to bullying, a breach of privacy, and even divorce or child custody challenges.
If you apply to a job, and the employer runs a background check on you and comes across a defamatory statement, then he or she might not consider you to be a trustworthy and employable person. A false accusation of adultery could destroy a marriage. A false statement that suggests drug use or violent tendencies could cause havoc in child custody and visitation arrangements. A defamatory statement about a store could ruin the entire business and stop people from shopping there. A small defamatory statement can lead to disastrous results.
What Must You Prove in a Defamation Personal Injury Claim
To begin with, you need to know that not every negative statement about you can be considered defamatory. A negative statement is only considered defamatory if it is factually false. If the statement is true or is an opinion, then it cannot be considered defamation. For example, if someone says that you committed adultery, and if this is a true statement, then that is not defamation. If someone says that your products or services are awful, then that is probably an opinion, which is not defamation.
Sometimes, the statement may have parts that are true or are opinions and parts that are factually false. In such cases, you must prove that the false part of the statement caused some kind of damage to you. An example might be when a person expresses the opinion that your services are terrible and that you refused to honor your ‘money back guarantee’ when they expressed their dissatisfaction. Their dissatisfaction is an opinion, but if they are lying about the fact that you did not honor a guarantee, then this is a factual falsehood which could cause damages, such as future customers not considering your product because they believe that you will not honor the guarantee that the unsatisfied customer has lied about.
In cases where someone insults you or says something false about you or your business, but they say it directly to you and nobody else, then this is also not grounds for a defamation case. You must prove that the false statement was conveyed to a third party, and this caused some damage to yourself, your business, or your reputation. This last part is essential. There must have been some damage caused to you by the false statement, and simple embarrassment or anger at the statement does not count. You must prove that the false statement caused you to be harassed, to lose business, to lose your marriage, or to face other actual damages.
Responding to a Defamatory or Libelous Statement in Atlanta, Georgia
Reading false statements about yourself on the internet could be humiliating and even hurtful. Moreover, such statements can damage your reputation and affect personal and professional relationships. If you are a victim of internet libel or defamation, you must act fast to minimize the damage, and to recover compensation from the damages sustained.
Information on the internet spreads faster than wildfire. File a claim as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for defamation in Atlanta is one year. You must also preserve evidence of the defamatory statement. Things can be taken off the internet just as quickly as they can be posted on it. If the person that published the statement removes it from the internet then you will have no proof and thus, no claim. You can print the page of the website that posted the statement but be sure to get the name of the website and the date as well, or you can take a screenshot on your computer, phone, or tablet.
Keep in mind that some defamatory statements are only made more public if you respond to them. Responding to the statement might create a public controversy, thus making the statement more popular. However, in some cases ignoring the statement is not an option. If the statement is only going to cause more trouble in the future then you must report it.
Contact the Bader Law Firm for Advice and Representation
If you have been defamed on the internet, contact the attorneys at the Bader Law Firm in Atlanta, Georgia, and tackle the issue before it gets out of hand. Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Atlanta, GA will help you understand your rights and options establish liability in your claim. If you prevail in your claim, you can recover compensation for any damages caused by defamatory statement.