Defamation of character can be a serious issue. It was once famously said that a lie can make it around the world before the truth can get its boots on. On the Internet, a lie can make it around the world in a fraction of a second. There are real consequences when someone disparages you and a lawyer may be able to help.
Texas Justice – A recent case
A couple in Texas who were the victims of Internet defamation recently won over $13 million in jury awards from a lawsuit they filed. The misinformation about them that was posted on a popular website was particularly vile. They were able to demonstrate that they had suffered because of it and the jury found in their favor. If someone is doing you wrong online, they can be held responsible in real life.
Understanding Libel and Defamation
Defamation is essentially communicating with third parties in a way that causes harm to their reputation or that dissuades other people from associating with them. There are statements that really don’t ascend to this level that you could likely not sue over but which are commonly thrown about online. Here’s a way to understand the difference between defamation and just a nasty fight.
If someone is defaming you, they’re talking to other people about you in a way that does you real harm. If someone simply calls you a name or says something bad about you in the context of expressing their opinion, that really isn’t defamation. If they’re communicating with people and saying awful things – you’re a murderer, a thief, a liar, etc. – and they’re doing so in a way that makes it hard for you to do business, to maintain associations with people or that otherwise harms you, it may be defamation and you may be able to sue.
Can All Lawyers Handle This?
No. Some lawyers are criminal lawyers and there have been cases where the things that people have said and done online have resulted in criminal charges being filed. The lawyers that pursue the person accused of the crime are not your lawyers and do not represent you. You need an attorney that specializes in filing lawsuits in civil court to represent you. They’ll be the ones who will go after the person specifically to get you compensated for the damage that the defamation has done.
How Do I Know?
Talk to a lawyer. Remember that simple disputes online are not defamation. Someone saying thing about you that happen to be true is generally not defamation, either. If it were, every newspaper in the country would be getting sued for libel every day. Defamation is not about exposing unflattering truths, it’s about lying in a way that causes real harm. If you believe that you’ve been the victim of such behavior, be sure to contact an attorney. Texas victims of this type of activity have already won lawsuits and, if your case is solid, you may stand to win a lawsuit as well. Remember that direct retaliation is never a good idea; get an attorney.