Slander and libel are considered defamation, meaning that they damage a person’s reputation and good name.
What Is Slander?
Slander is spoken word that damages a person or an entity. Slander can also be understood to include body gestures.
What Is Libel?
Libel is written slander that has been published. It is written word about another person that damages the person’s reputation. It can include photographs that have been published.
Stating the Facts Is Not Slander or Libel
Stating the facts of a situation is not libel or slander. However, maliciously and judgmentally stating something about an individual can be defamation. For example, if you said, “My neighbor Dan is a stinky, disgusting fall-down drunk,” this would be defamatory. However, if you said, “I saw Dan my neighbor consume 15 bottles of beer last night and throw up and I believe he is in alcoholic,” you would not be defaming.
Public figures because they put themselves voluntarily in the public eye, have less protection in regard to libel and slander.
Suing for Defamation – Libel and Slander
To have a legal basis to sue for libel or slander, four elements must be present and proved, in most cases:
- The statement must be false, not a fact and not an opinion
- The statement must be “published”; this means that either it was printed (libel) or someone else heard the defamation being spoken.
- The statement must cause injury to the slandered or libeled person’s reputation.
- The statement cannot be what is called “privileged” or published in a place that has certain speech protections, such as in a court of law or state legislative chamber. There was negligence involved in the defendant publishing the slander or libel – in other words, the defendant should have known better.
Questions About the Difference Between Libel and Slander?
We are here to answer your questions and help you understand your rights. We offer free consultations and will answer your questions. We work on a contingency fee basis, so that you pay nothing until we win an award for you. To contact J. Lewis & Associates, call 800-228-0507.