Most people never consider how libel is a form of personal injury until it happens to them. Words can cause harm and that is the main point of this type of civil action. Read on to find out more about libel and what it means.
Clearing Up Some Confusing Terms
Libel is one of those words that some people mix-up with other similar terms. The overall term for when a person is harmed by the words of another is defamation. Under the umbrella of defamation are libel and slander. Libel is when the words that cause harm are written and slander is when the words are spoken. As long as it's made available for others to see and it's untrue, it might be defamation. Victims of defamation (of either kind) can seek financial compensation from the perpetrator for the harm done.
Where Does Libel Occur?
The internet has opened a whole new world of opportunities for people to perpetrate libel. Historically, libel cases were often connected to articles in newspapers and magazines. While those old forms of print are still valid causes of libelous writings, social media has created a way for so many more to injure others with their postings, blog entries, and comments.
Just Expressing An Opinion
Those who think they understand the law and our rights afforded by the Constitution are often quick to point out that freedom of speech protects the right to say anything. That is not strictly true. For example, yelling "fire" in a crowded theater could create chaos and cause injuries. The same is true for libel. No one can say what they want if it causes harm and anyone doing so can pay the price when they get sued.
To be libel, certain elements should be satisfied:
- It must be viewed by others. Private communications are not subject to libel.
- It must be untrue. If the writings are true, it's not libel.
- It must cause harm. The victim has to demonstrate that their reputation, career, personal relationships, financial situation, etc were harmed by the libelous writings.
If you have been harmed by untrue writings, either printed or online, you may be compensated for your losses. Preserve the libelous writings by printing them or safeguarding them and contact a personal injury lawyer. Be ready to explain how the libelous writings have harmed you and loved ones. In many cases, utilizing personal injury law services is the smart choice. Consider opting for payment for services using a contingency fee arrangement. Speak to a lawyer today.