What is the difference between libel and slander? How they are different from defamation

People often try to defame others on the basis of their personal opinions. These opinions can be written under a post, in a comment on a website, social media, or can be said during a rude conversation/argument between colleagues. However, in any way, these statements impact a person’s or brand’s reputation.

In legal terminology, these are called libel and slander. The main difference between libel and slander is that libel is a verbal statement and slander is a written statement made for defamation. 

What is defamation?

A false statement made against someone that creates damages to a person’s reputation and character is known as Defamation. For instance, suppose John deceived his employer and cheated to make a fake invoice to receive money. If the statement is untrue, communicating this with other employees and colleagues will eventually damage John’s reputation. The person whose reputation is damaged is eligible to file a defamation lawsuit.

What is defamation
source:shrm.org

Defamation often occurs when false statements are made against a person and affect a person’s character image. Defamation may contain the statements (like John you stole money, you should be punished, etc.) that may become the cause of position or employment loss. Because they can truly damage the character’s image and trust.

What is the difference between slander and libel?

Wondering what is the difference between slander and libel? Slander vs libel comes under defamation. Libel is rather a false statement in writing, while when a false statement is made orally it is referred to as slander.

The main difference between slander and defamation is that the defamation statement can be made on any medium. It can be at the show on radio, television, at a public event, etc. Libelous actions occur only when the statement is written over somewhere like on the comment on a blog website or in the blog itself.

You may already have heard or known about seditious libel. In 1798, a Sedition Act was carried out which elaborated that making a false statement against any government official, President, or Congress would be considered a crime.

Later, the Supreme Court amended the act that every false statement that is advertised or made in writing against any public figure will be a punishable crime.

Difference between slander and libel
source:investopedia.com

Common examples of Slander and Liable

Let’s assume that you visit a blogger’s website and post a comment at the end of the blog that the author of the blog was discharged from the Army dishonorably. That’s certainly enough to make defamation until it is true.

But what can happen if the author of the blog has a radical image in the society or he works anti-government or an anti-war socialist? The possibility is there that he doesn’t care what people think or say so the comment gets neglected. Therefore, the comment will not be a defamatory statement or considered liable.

Another example of writing somewhere that the person acted unethically or unlawfully even if the conduct was not the criminal or absolute opposite. This represents a false statement and the person you are accusing can sue you for the wrong allegations under libel laws.

Can a fact or qualified statement become the reason for defamation?

For instance, you say that ‘I think John has stolen $100 from my drawer’. This statement is more like an opinion than a false statement that falls under defamation and an opinion cannot be the reason for filing a lawsuit.

The words ‘I think’ will automatically change a statement into an opinion. Additionally, when you make statements like these in front of the people who trust you and don’t think that you joke around themselves about such things, then the statement will be considered slander.

Damages for defamation

A lawsuit for libel, slander, and defamation comes under the civil lawsuit, through which it claims that under the defamation laws or under the libel laws, the person that has brought the lawsuit had faced the damages after someone’s false conduct.

Damages for defamation
source:legaleye.ca

Through the lawsuit, the victim is seeking monetary compensation for the damages caused by the harmful statements. These damages may contain pain, suffering, loss of wages, position, ability to earn, the reputation of the plaintiff, and emotional reactions like humiliation, shame, and anxiety.

Defense against a defamation case

You can file a lawsuit against someone who has made false statements against you whether slander or libel. But what options you can avail if you are accused of false slander or libel.

Truth is the only defense against any accusation. If what you have said is true, then there’s nothing to be afraid about. Plus, there will be no case. If the defamation lawsuit against you has been brought by a public figure, by proving that you were weighing on the fact that the statement was false or not. This can also be counted in defense.

No matter slander or libel, an allegation can bring your character under question. Deal with your false accusations legally with a personal injury lawyer and have your rights protected.

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