4 Common Defamation Defenses
Have you been charged with libel or slander? It very well may be the case that you're entirely in the clear and your personal injury attorney can formulate a great defense in your favor. Read on and discover just a few common defamation defenses.
You very well may have the right to make inflammatory statements against certain individuals. The onus will be on the plaintiff, in such cases, to prove that the individual who made the statement acted out of ill will or with malicious intent. Among the types of qualified privileged individuals include members of lower level governmental agencies, statements made in self defense (in which the defendant tried to warn others in public of an approaching danger), film or book reviews (as they constitute fair criticism), and any statements that were made in governmental reports.
In order for a libel or slander statement to have legal force, the statements in question must be false. If you have said something malicious or said something that has perhaps harmed someone's public image and it happens to be true, then they can't sue you, as it doesn't constitute a defamatory statement.
Absolute privilege occurs when a certain individual makes a certain statement at a certain time in which that individual cannot be charged with a defamatory statement, even if the statement itself is defamatory. In other words, the person who made the statement is simply immune from such civil suits. Among the types of absolute privilege that exist include statements that are made by higher order government officials or employees, statements that are made during expressly specific political broadcasts and political speeches, statements made during judicial proceedings, and statements made in legislative debates by Senators and House Representatives.
Defamatory statements must be false statements of fact. If a statement can be construed as an opinion, then you cannot be sued for making such a statement. However, a jury in such a case must determine a series of extenuating circumstances around said statement. Qualifying a statement with a clause that begins with "I think," or ends with, "and that's just my opinion," does not necessarily constitute an opinion in a court of law. There are a number of factors that a jury need to look at when determining whether or not a statement uttered was an opinion or a statement of fact, including the precision of the statement and even how well the two parties involved knew each other prior to the lawsuit.