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Douglas & Douglas Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
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Jacksonville Defamation Lawyer

It is true that individuals have freedom of speech rights, but there are limitations when it comes to statements that harm someone else’s reputation and financial interests. Under Florida law, such misconduct may give rise to a defamation action, in which you can recover compensation for all losses stemming from unlawful remarks. However, because of the civil rights implications, these claims can be extremely complex.

At Douglas & Douglas, our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the laws and extensive experience fighting on behalf of clients in defamation actions. We aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who threaten your interests, since words can have a considerable impact on your reputation and future. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with a Jacksonville defamation lawyer today. We can explain the relevant legal issues, but you might find an overview to be useful.

Liability in a Florida Defamation Claim

There are certain facts you must prove to recover compensation based upon defamatory statements. The five essential elements of a defamation case are:

  1. Someone made a statement by speaking, writing, or some other type of expression;
  2. The statement was false and not the person’s opinion;
  3. The speaker published the false statement by revealing it to a third party;
  4. You suffered injury or harm through after publication of the statement; and,
  5. There was no privilege regarding the statement, in the sense that it was spoken in court, by an official, or other protected communication.

Plus, Florida has a statute of limitations in defamation cases. You must file a lawsuit in court within two years after the statement was published, or you cannot recover damages for your losses.

How Defamation Laws Apply to Public Figures

There is an additional element that you must prove if you’re an elected official or otherwise in the public eye. The US legal system encourages people to speak their minds about public officials, so these individuals don’t enjoy as much protection from defamation actions. In addition to the five elements above, you must also prove that the speaker acted with actual malice. This term means that person made a statement known to be false, or with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

Compensation in a Defamation Case

If you successfully prove the five points above, plus actual malice if applicable, you can obtain monetary damages for your losses. For example, you may be able to recover for: 

  • Lost wages, earning capacity, and benefits you would have earned;
  • Lost business or economic opportunities;
  • Any medical costs you incurred to treat the emotional implications;
  • Pain and suffering; and,
  • Other forms of compensation, depending on your circumstances.

Set Up a Consultation with a Jacksonville Defamation Attorney

If you’ve suffered harm because of defamatory statements, it’s essential to retain skilled legal representation to take on the responsible party. Our team at Douglas & Douglas is prepared to implement all legal strategies under Florida law, so please contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers. We’re in a better position to advise you on your options once we learn more about your specific situation.

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