Defamation is a big word in the world of personal injury law. It is thrown around a lot, but cases centered around a defamation lawsuit rarely have positive outcomes. Why? First, you have to understand the term. Defamation is the act of ruining the reputation of someone else. In this day and age, when bullying is a justifiably hot topic in many public schools, defamation can seem like nothing more than a grown-up tease and taunt. However, real cases of slander or libel go much further. These statements made, in the right way and to the right audience, can have devastating impacts on a person’s life.
For instance, the politician wrongfully accused publicly of having an affair could stand to lose his wife, family, and his job in one fell swoop. That is a damaging statement. Even a person not garnering constant media attention can suffer from defamation. A false statement made by a former employer suggesting that the person looking for work was fired for misconduct could ruin that person’s chances of getting a new job. A business owner whose company is wrongfully accused of using child labor could face bankruptcy as a result. People often say and write things in the heat of the moment because they are upset and need to vent. However, when those statements result in life-altering consequences for another individual, the costs can be severe. That is why the law stands on the side of the victim.
So, will that politician file a lawsuit against the accuser? Will the job seeker sue his former St. Petersburg employer? Should the business owner go before judge and jury? In most cases, no. Why? While defamation cases can help a victim recoup some of the financial losses suffered as a result of unjust accusations made by the guilty party, they can also bring unwanted attention to that statement.
The politician, for instance, wants a negative statement like that to blow over. Bringing the accuser to court would only keep the headlines rolling and spread the damaging words to even more households throughout the state or country. Even if they are untrue, they could be deemed otherwise by the very people who could potentially vote him into office in the next election.
Similarly, the former employee doesn’t necessarily want to go to court against his old boss because, even with the misconduct statement being false, there might be other parts of his work history that are better left in the past, or at least not held up to public scrutiny. Going to court means that these things will get dug up and processed for public consumption.
The business owner has even more to lose. He or she might be better off disputing the claim in a more diplomatic manner. Efforts should be made to make the company look good, and time will wash the negative statement into the background. Going to court would only spread word of the accusation and make others wonder how true it is.
If you are suffering as a result of defamation, there are Saint Petersburg personal injury attorneys willing to assess the facts of the case, but you should beware that these lawsuits can get ugly. The impact of the false statement could get worse before it gets better. Be sure to discuss with your lawyer, at length, what the ramifications could be of going to court.