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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

The Difference Between Water Cooler Talk and Defamation

By Dan Atkerson on August 12, 2015

Haters gonna hate. But never forget that if a hater says something that hurts your reputation, or even worse, if they publish something damaging, then you may have a case for defamation.

Defamation comes in two forms: slander, which is when somebody says something false about you that harms your reputation, and libel, which is when somebody writes something false about you. There are some states that do not require that you make a distinction and just bundle them together legally under the term defamation.

To win a defamation suit you have to prove that the statement that is published, false, damaging, and unprivileged.

“Published” is a wider category than you may think as far as the legal system is concerned. It includes statements written, pictured, made on film or radio, in email chains, in social media, and even in conversations that were loud enough to have made a lasting impression on proven witnesses.

A person filing for defamation has to prove that the statement is indeed false, and that it is not simply an opinion. A defamation case will be thrown out if the statements made turn out to be true. Opinions are very subjective and are rarely considered to be defamatory.

Unprivileged means that the person who made the defamatory remark is not protected from defamation suits. Privileged individuals are usually people who testify in court or legislative officials who say defamatory things while in chambers.

You also have to prove that the statement was damaging. You have to show that your life was negatively affected by the words of the defendant. Were you fired, shunned, harassed, or even physically harmed because of something defamatory said about you?

If you feel that you may have been a victim of defamation, give us a call or submit an online form, and we can help you to repair the damages of any slander or libel as well as seek compensation for these damages.

Atkerson Law – Dallas Defamation lawyer

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