Defamation is the injuring of an individual’s reputation by false statements. An example of a lawsuit involving it is the one filed by Dominion Voting Systems against certain Donald Trump supporters who falsely alleged the company committed fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
While most people understand the basic idea of defamation, they may not be aware of all the complexities surrounding it. As a result, they may have questions about it.
1. What is the difference between libel and slander?
Commonly associated with tarnishing others’ good names, these two words represent kinds of defamatory statements. Libel is when the slanderous words are in written form. Examples include lies written about an individual in a newspaper or online. Slander is when the injurious words are oral. Libel is generally easier to prove and considered more severe.
2. Is there a statute of limitations?
Texas sets a one-year statute of limitation for the filing of defamation lawsuits starting from the making of the defamatory statement. In most cases, the clock does not start over if the perpetrator speaks or publishes the slander or libel again.
3. What is the difference between per se and per quod defamation?
Defamation falls under the per se umbrella if it is naturally damaging by nature. The simple association of the statement with an individual is harmful to said person. For instance, falsely claiming that a restaurant hires paroled criminals who place rats in the food on purpose is obviously dangerous to the owner’s livelihood. Defamation per quod is not innately injurious, so there must usually exist some proof of the damage done by it for a lawsuit to be successful.
Untruthful statements have the potential to severely hurt an individual’s livelihood, reputation and mental health. There are ways to take action against defamation.