People spend hours on social media every day. They can post whatever they want. People hide behind their keyboards and say nasty things about people they know. They say nasty things about people they don’t know. There are no real-life consequences for the things people do and say online. Or, is there?
The problem with social media is that thousands of people can see what you post online. You share it with your friends and they share it with their friends. Before you know it, people in other states, even other countries are reading things about your personal life.
Before the advent of social media, if you wanted to publicly shame or humiliate someone, you have to do it in newspapers or magazines. Today, all you have to do is click your mouse and, suddenly, you can say terrible things to people.
If you’ve been the victim of defamation on social media, you need to call a personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida. You have to realize that, just because you don’t like what someone said about you, doesn’t mean you can sue them. Or, if you do sue, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be paid. You have to actually prove that the defendant defamed your character.
How to Prove Defamation in Florida
Personal injury attorneys are seeing more and more cases involving social media. They handle all kinds of cases involving such things as
- cyber bullying
- defamation of character
Defamation is one of the hardest of these to prove. If you want to sue someone in Florida for defamation of character, you need to prove the following:
- A person made a false statement
- This statement is communicated to a third party
- The statement is meant to hurt your reputation or economic well-being
First, the statement has to be false. If someone writes something about you that is true, you can’t sue for defamation.
Second, it must be communicated to a third party. This one isn’t hard for your personal injury lawyer to prove. All he must show is that at least one person viewed the post. He can do this by taking a screen shot of someone “liking” the post.
Finally, you must prove that the person intended to hurt your reputation or economic well-being. Whether or not you can do this depends on the situation. Your personal injury lawyer will have to work hard to prove that this is the case.
Defenses to Defamation of Character in Florida
If you do sue someone for defamation, he will have available defenses. You’re not the only one with a lawyer. The defendant will probably have an attorney helping him.
Some defenses to defamation of character are:
- The statement is true – Even if the defendant said something terrible about you, if it’s true, he won’t be held liable.
- It was simply a statement of opinion – If the defendant can show he was just expressing his opinion, he won’t be found responsible for your injuries.
- You consented to the defendant’s posting the information – If you gave the defendant permission to share the information, you won’t succeed in your lawsuit.
- Privilege – Certain situations, such as court hearing and police statements are exempt from defamation law.
- Retraction – A half-hearted retraction in response to a lawsuit isn’t enough. The defendant would have to show that he filed the retraction immediately and that it was sincere.
Your personal injury lawyer will argue that none of these standard defenses apply in your case.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Tampa, Florida
If your character has been defamed online, you need to call a personal injury lawyer in Tampa today. The statute of limitations in Florida for defamation of character is only two (2) years. The two years starts on the day the defendant published the comment. It doesn’t start on the day you noticed he posted it.
This is why you need to call a personal injury lawyer right away. The longer you wait, the less your chances of recovery. There’s really no reason to wait. Your lawyer is going to need as much time as possible to prove your case. Plus, the more time that goes by, the harder it is to prove that the defendant actually harmed you.
Call today and schedule your initial consultation with a Tampa personal injury attorney. You can ask your attorney any questions you may have about your case. And remember – the consultation is free and you pay nothing until you win your case.
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