When a person says or writes something about another person that they know is not true, it is considered defamation. Defamation is false communication that harms someone else’s reputation. You may not realize how much harm a false statement can have on a person.
The Nevada Constitution , the common law of Nevada and the Nevada Revised Statute 200,510 prohibit defamation. It is important to understand the specific nuances associated with defamation, so that you and your Las Vegas personal injury attorney can build your case in the best possible way. Here’s what you need to know about Nevada defamation laws and your injury claim.
What is defamation?
To win a defamation case, you must prove the following:
- The defendant made a statement about you.
- The claim is false
- They did not have the privilege of making the statement.
- The defendant made the statement negligently, recklessly, or intentionally without regard to the truth. This means that the accused knew or should have known that the statement was not true.
- Your reputation is damaged as a result
The defamatory statement must be made to a third party. A person can make a defamatory statement using printed material, signs, images, or the Internet. The words must impugn the honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation of another person. It must expose the victim to public hatred, contempt or ridicule. A defamatory statement reduces the victim’s position in the community or subjects them to unfavorable opinions or contempt from others.
Two types of libel in Nevada
There are two types of defamation in Nevada: libel and libel. Both types involve false statements. The difference is that defamation refers to statements that are made, while defamation refers to written statements.
Both types of statements are equally defamatory with the same penalties. In practice, slander is easier to prove than slander because slander is written. With defamation, there is a greater chance that you will have a copy of the statement to present as evidence.
Opinions are not libel
A defamatory statement must be a statement of fact. It cannot be an opinion. For example, if you say that someone is terrible at sports, that is your opinion. You have the right to have and express your opinion. It is not libel. However, if you falsely claim that someone cheated to win at a sporting event, that could be defamation.
What if it is true?
A statement is not defamatory if it is true. In fact, the truth is a common defense to defamation allegations. You are free to make objective statements about others, as long as they are true. Even claims that are exaggerated or generalized are not defamatory, as long as the claim is true.
Private and public victims
When it comes to defamation, there is a big difference whether the person who is the subject of the statement is a public or private figure. People have more freedom to make statements about public figures. If a person is a public figure, it is only defamation if they make the statement knowing that it is false or if they recklessly rule out the probability that it is false.
When a person is not a public figure, it is defamation to make a false statement, even negligently. All of this is subjective. The jury must analyze what the defendant knew when he made the statement.
Online business and reviews
A business can be the victim of defamation. Like defamation against an individual, it is only defamation if it is a false statement of fact. For example, posting online that you don’t like a restaurant is fair game. However, say there was a mouse in your soup when there was no slander.
In all defamation cases, you can recover compensatory damages. Compensatory damages pay you for your actual losses. Prove these losses by showing loss of income, loss of customers, or other ways that you have actually lost money or opportunities due to defamatory statements. You prove compensatory damages with accounting or even witness testimony that they have decided to take their business elsewhere.
For some defamatory statements, you do not have to prove damages. Defamation without harm is called defamation per se. False accusations that someone committed a crime, that they have a terrible disease, that a woman is promiscuous, or that a complaint that could harm someone’s profession can be libel in itself. In the case of defamation per se, it can be recovered without proving actual damages.
The privilege of litigation
In the course of litigation, a person’s defamatory statement may be protected. A person who is involved in litigation as a party, a witness, or an attorney can speak without fear of facing defamation liability. Of course, a person can be under oath and swear to tell the truth. However, you generally cannot bring a defamation case against someone for what they say in connection with official court proceedings.
The purpose of prohibiting claims of defamation for statements made in the context of litigation is to encourage people to speak freely during court proceedings. Not having to worry about defamation claims can make parties and witnesses more willing to speak openly and tell the truth as they see it.
What about freedom of expression?
It is true that you have a First Amendment right to free speech. However, your rights are not absolute. The Nevada Constitution qualifies defamation as an abuse of free speech. There are other limits to freedom of expression, such as limitations on making threats and limitations on time and place in public gatherings.
There are many common defenses to defamation complaints. Some common arguments include:
- The statement is true
- The defendant did not release the statement.
- When the defendant made the statement, they were not negligent or ignorant of the truth.
- It is not a defamatory statement. It’s just an opinion
- It is an obvious satire and should not be taken seriously.
- There is a litigation privilege that protects the speaker
- It is not a defamation case per se, and there is no harm
What can I do if I have been defamed?
Whether someone has made a statement about you or your business, if you are a victim of defamation, it is a true personal injury . You have the right to collect fair compensation.
It is important to speak with a qualified injury attorney as soon as possible to better understand what options are available and which strategy will work best for your specific circumstances. An experienced attorney can help you understand which rules apply to your case and help you make a plan for fair compensation.