If you are the victim of online defamation, there is a possibility that you can legally hold responsible the person who posted the derogatory statements about you. Whether or not you can depends largely on your state's laws and what was said. Before taking legal action, here are some things you need to know.
What Is Online Defamation?
When someone posts a false statement about you online with the intention of causing injury to you, it is considered to be online defamation. In order to be successful in any legal actions that you take against the person, you need to prove that the statement is false and that he or she was aware that it was false.
For instance, if a co-worker posted online that you were terminated from your position for stealing and he or she knew this was not true, you could potentially take action against him or her.
Another component of online defamation is that it cannot be misconstrued as an opinion. Using the previous example, the co-worker posted his or her comment as if it were factual. However, if the co-worker stated that he or she thought you were dishonest instead, this could be considered an opinion. In this instance, calling you dishonest is not defamation.
Can You Sue?
Whether or not you can sue for online defamation depends largely on your state. Some states, such as Texas, do allow you to file a lawsuit as long as you can prove the statement was false and the person maliciously posted the false statement. A personal injury attorney can help determine if the laws in your state allow for a suit.
It is important to note that even though there might not be existing laws in your state that allow for lawsuits, it might still be possible to file. A judge might allow your case to proceed in court even without defamation laws in existence.
If you are able to file the lawsuit, be mindful of the statute of limitations in your state. The time limit can vary from state to state. For instance, in Texas, the time limit is one year. In Missouri, the time limit is two years.
To best assess whether or not you have a case and to further understand your state's laws, consult with a personal injury attorney, such as Welsh & Welsh PC LLO. If you have legal options available, he or she can help you take action.