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Douglas & Douglas Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
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Lake City Defamation Lawyer

There’s a children’s saying that words can never hurt you but, as an adult, you may realize that things are very different in reality. Certain statements by others can affect you personally by causing harm to your reputation or other interests, which can potentially have financial implications. Fortunately, Florida law provides for a right of action known as defamation, in which you can recover compensation for your losses. However, there are complicated legal issues when words touch on freedom of speech issues.

Our team at Douglas & Douglas has extensive knowledge of Florida laws on defamation actions, so we’re prepared to pursue those responsible for harming your financial interests. Please contact our office to set up a consultation with a Lake City defamation lawyer who can advise you on your options. You can also read on for some important on how these cases work.

Elements of a Defamation Case

To recover monetary damages from defamatory statements, there are five sets of facts you must prove:

  1. Someone made a statement, either by speaking, writing, or through another form of expression;
  2. The statement was factually false, as opposed to an opinion;
  3. The speaker published the statement, in the sense that some third party saw or heard it;
  4. Publication of the statement caused injury or harm to you, typically by adversely affecting your reputation; and,
  5. The statement was not privileged; for instance, it was published in connection with judicial proceedings, by an official, or between spouses.

In addition, under Florida’s statute of limitations, you must file a defamation lawsuit within two years after the publication of the defamatory statement.

Exceptions for Public Figures

The US legal system places a high priority on citizens being able to speak openly about their elected officials and others who are well-known to the general public. Therefore, these individuals have less protection from defamation laws and must meet a higher standard of proof than the above elements. In addition to the five points above, a public official must also establish that the statement was made with actual malice. The term is defined as making a statement that the speaker knew was not true, or with a reckless disregard of whether or not it was true. 

Damages in Florida Defamation Claims

If successful in proving the elements of a defamation case, you can recover a wide range of compensation, such as:

  • Lost wages or earning capacity;
  • Amounts for the benefits you would have earned through employment;
  • Lost business or economic opportunities;
  • Medical costs, if you sought treatment due to the emotional consequences of the defamatory statement;
  • Pain and suffering; and,
  • Other damages depending on the specifics of your case.

Contact a Lake City Defamation Lawyer Regarding Your Claim

As you can see, defamation claims are complicated in the sense that they involve protecting your interests while balancing the civil rights of the speaker. If you believe you’ve sustained harm because of defamatory statements, please contact Douglas & Douglas to schedule a case assessment. Our attorneys can provide more information about your rights and remedies after reviewing your

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