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March 24, 2022

What can you say or write about a person and not be sued for slander or libel?

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That’s a tricky question because anybody can sue if they want to, but not anybody can collect on what you’ve said about them. The rule is: you are at risk if it hurts the person’s reputation, if it’s untrue, if it violates their rights, invades their privacy or injures them. So, if what you say is true and they already have the reputation of being what you said about them, you “may” be safe.

This all becomes murky when you’re dealing with what is called a “public figure”–someone with prominence in society. In this case, the “public figure” must prove that you acted with “actual malice”—meaning you either knowingly made a false statement or simply said it, regardless of whether it was true or not.

The difference between “libel” and “slander” has to do with how you produce a statement. Libel is written–including social posts, blogs and newspapers. Slander is spoken–including podcasts, videos and news broadcasts.

Even teenagers on their favorite sites can get in trouble and you parents may end up liable for their indiscretions, including bullying. And even if the accusation of libel or slander is untrue, you will have the burden of paying for a lawsuit unless you have general liability insurance to cover the expenses, including court costs, settlements, judgments and legal fees.

Koch Insurance Group is here to assist you in getting the right insurance for your situation. Their expert advice will protect you. Contact them today.

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