Have You Been Libeled or Slandered?

legal dictionaryIn my post, 3 Tips For Suing For Online Defamation, I established that libel is defamations made in writing and slander is made by spoken word. And we also learned that to prove either libel or slander in court, a plaintiff must show that the statement was negligently, recklessly, or intentionally published (or disseminated) to a third party (which includes posting on social media). Though the distinction between written or spoken word may sound simple, today I’d like to give you a couple of examples to better your understanding of these two types of defamation.

Consider a TV program. You may be thinking that a defamatory statement spoken by someone on TV is slander, but if the statement was scripted, as opposed to ad-libbed, a court may call it libel.

Further, if the medium of defamation is more permanent — like a printed news article, or perhaps even a recording — then a court is more likely to consider it libel. Other factors that suggest a defamatory statement is libelous include:

  • premeditation
  • broad dissemination of the statement

You’re probably wondering why the distinction between libel and slander matters so much. I have one word for you — “damages.”

Generally speaking, when you’re suing for libel (for a statement made “on its face”), general damages are presumed and you don’t need to specifically prove the amount of your loss (known as special damages). By contrast, when you’re suing for slander, then you usually do need to prove special damages — unless the statement is considered slander “per se.”

Slander “per se” usually just pertains to four categories of the law:

  • imputations of criminal conduct;
  • allegations injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession;
  • imputations of loathsome disease;
  • imputations of unchastity in a woman.

For many, libel and slander can seem complex to interpret. That’s why if you feel you’ve been slandered or libeled, be sure to contact the Atkinson Law Firm in Albuquerque for your free consultation!

Scott Atkinson (267 Posts)

Scott concentrates on serious personal injury cases. He believes that a catastrophic injury does not just affect the victim; it also dramatically impacts the victim’s family. Scott is in Albuquerque to fight for you to recover your New Mexico accident losses!


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