Fights are almost inevitable in a friendship and can be a major problem if you don't take steps to address the issues that cause them. This situation gets worse if insults were spewed during the fight. Is it possible to sue a friend if they continue to insult you behind your back? In some situations, this behavior could be defamation and a type of personal injury.
Defamation Has A Very Particular Definition
Defamation cases, such as slander and libel, are some of the toughest types of personal injury cases to win. That's because the plaintiff has to prove that the person defaming their character is deliberately spreading misleading information about them in an attempt to ruin their reputation.
The reason that this is so tough is that the defendant often presents their defamation attempts at a personal opinion or a rumor that they heard. Former president Lyndon B. Johnson infamously won an election by spreading a very gross (and untrue) rumor about an opponent. Therefore, insults are often in a rather strange legal area when it comes to defamation.
Most Of The Time, Insults Are Not Defamation
While a person is likely to say some pretty nasty things about you when insulting you, this type of language isn't often thought of as defamation. That's because the law usually considers them emotional outbursts during which a person says things that aren't quite within their ability to control. Most importantly, they don't have the intent to seriously defame a person's reputation.
However, a fight with a friend may develop into something more extreme if they continue to insult you behind your back after you thought the fight was over. In this situation, there is a possibility that you could pursue a personal injury case. However, it is still going to be a rough path for you to follow towards success.
Proving This Type Of Case
In this type of case, insults have to attack your character in a way that seriously damages your reputation. For example, a friend may call you a "criminal" and try to prove that you committed a crime. Simply calling you "fat" or "stupid" does not count in this case. Just as critically, you need to follow specific steps to prove defamation. For example, you must:
- Prove that your friend is continually making false statements about you
- Show that these statements were presented as facts, not as opinion
- Illustrate that this information damaged your reputation with friends, family members, or employers
- Highlight actual personal damage that occurred
That last point is going to be the toughest part of this process. You need to show that your friend's continued insults about you caused you to lose friends, suffer from emotional problems, or even lose a job. Connecting these concepts is going to be tough because the court may still argue that insults are not defamation, even if you can show that you did suffer from damage.
So if you are concerned that you are going to have a hard time winning this kind of case, make sure to take the time to talk to a personal injury attorney such as those with Steele Law Offices, LLC right away. These professionals can help you to better understand your chances of winning and to do what is necessary to increase your payout.