Personal Injury Lawyer
Many people have been told at one point in their life that if they do not have anything good to say, then they shouldn’t say anything at all. But, in a day and age when people feel that they are entitled to say anything they want to in person or online, whether it is negative or positive about someone, there is actually a chance that they could be breaking the law. Defamation is a term that covers slander and libel, and it happens when someone’s words have caused harm to your reputation. The difference between slander and libel is that slander is a spoken defamatory statement made to anyone at any time, and libel is a written or published defamatory statement. Defamation is an area of law that provides a civil court remedy when someone’s words end up causing harm to your reputation or your livelihood, but with the help of your personal injury lawyer Arlington, TX trusts you would have to prove that their words caused harm to your reputation.
In the United States Constitution, we are guaranteed the right to free speech through the First Amendment, and many people can think that this bars them from any defamation lawsuit. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech, but slander and libel that is detrimental does not fall under its protection. This is one thing that has been a deciding factor in cases that have been appealed to the United States Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, since the early days of the nation. Before the United States became a country, the laws that we adopted were originally from England. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066, the resolution for defamation was a public apology and it was the church’s role in resolving these issues. After the Norman Conquest, the laws that governed England were known as Common Law and these were the laws that we adopted and still use as a base for our law today.
Defamation has since been interpreted in varying ways by the Supreme Court throughout the centuries, resulting in binding precedent for future slander and libel cases. A landmark case that has changed the view on libel is the 1964 case, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. This case radically changed the nature of what could be published and still be considered free speech. As the common law of our ancestors, who first instilled libel and slander laws, our interpretations will continue to evolve just like the constitutional law that replaced it.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into defamation and personal injury.