Libel and slander claims are often associated with celebrities and tabloids; however, they can have a devastating impact for businesses. For some business, it can get so bad they may have to stop trading. The below information looks at the difference between liable and slander, what you can do about it, and how to avoid making these comments yourself.
Difference between libel and slander
Both libel and slander are classed as defamation and it is easy to get confused between the two. Defamation is where someone’s opinion of your business is lowered as a result of hearing or reading the offending statement. The definition of libel is a defamatory statement that is written down, whereas slander concerns spoken words.
What can you do about it?
If you are made aware of libel or slanderous statements being made against your business the first step you need to take is consider if damage has been done to your business. In many cases it may be that no damage has actually been inflicted and it may not be worth pursuing the claim any further. You will need to look at the situation and decide whether people are likely to have heard/read the comment and if they are likely to have been taken seriously. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing and drawing attention to it may do more harm than good.
If you decide that legal proceedings are necessary you will need to bring a claim within 12 months of the defamatory statement being made. Always keep in mind that legal action can be costly and there may be ways to spend your money that is more beneficial to your business and has more chances of success.
How to avoid making libel or slanderous comments
This may seem like an obvious question but it is too easy to fall into the trap, especially if tempers are flaring. If you find out that someone has made defamatory statements about your business the worst thing you can do is retaliate with defamatory comments of your own. Turn the other cheek and let the success of your business speak for itself.