Personal Injury Cases Involving Defamation: The Basics

If your character been defamed by another person, then you might have a personal injury case against that individual. Although defamation does not involve a physical injury, it falls under the category of personal injury law because it injures your reputation. The following article examines this complex area of the law in more detail. 

Libel and Slander

The two types of defamation consist of libel and slander. Libel occurs when someone defames you in printed material or in writing, while slander typically involves someone defaming you through speech. One distinction between the two is that it might be easier to prove that you were libeled than to prove you were slandered. Printed material can be presented as evidence of defamation in court, while you might not be able to document the fact that you were slandered. As a result, in a slander case you may have to rely on supporting witnesses to prove the defamatory statement occurred. 


To prevail in a defamation claim, you may need to show that you were harmed. For example, if someone says that your business does not treat customers fairly, you might have to show that the statement caused you to lose customers. In other instances, however, the court might consider the offending statement or allegation to be so defamatory that it is simply assumed that you were harmed. If someone accuses you of a sexual offense, for instance, the charge is so negative that having it become public severely damages your reputation.


The defendant in your libel or slander case has several possible ways of refuting your claim. If they can prove that the defaming statement is true, then your case will be lost. The truth is an absolute defense in defamation cases. If you consented to having a defamatory statement made about you, this is an absolute defense as well. Another key defense is known as privilege. This defense applies to various persons who are acting in an official capacity in certain legal or legislative proceedings. 

Public Figure 

You will have a much harder time winning a defamation case if you are a public figure. These people have to prove that a person acted maliciously or recklessly when they made the offending accusation. This differs from private individuals, who typically just have to show that a false statement caused them harm.  

Successfully pursuing a defamation claim cannot be done without expert legal advice. For more information on this important legal topic, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your city.