March 15, 2022

What is defamation per se?

Houston Defamation Per Se Lawyer

If a person makes a false statement about you — whether in writing or via spoken word — and if that false statement harms your reputation, you may have a defamation case. Some states, Texas included, recognize two forms of defamation: defamation per quod and defamation per se.

Defamation per quod is more difficult to prove, as it involves false statements that are not inherently defamatory. Defamation per se, on the other hand, involves statements that most of the nation presumes to be harmful. FindLaw explains more in-depth what defamation per se means.

Defamation per se

Defamation per se involves untruths that are inherently harmful. Each state has its own criteria for deciding which untruths are inherently damaging to one’s reputation and, therefore, actionable as injury claims. That said, most states recognize four general categories into which statements can fall that would render damages presumed:

  • Suggestions that an individual has a contagious, “loathsome” or infection disease
  • Suggestions that an individual is a party to criminal activity
  • Suggestions that an individual is unchaste or engaged in sexual misconduct
  • Suggestions that an individual is involved in behavior that contradicts the proper conduct of a person in his or her trade, business or profession

Though most states adhere, more or less, to these four categories, the exact definition of defamation per se varies across state lines.

Damages available in defamation per se cases

If you have a true defamation per se case, the courts do not require you to prove damages. Rather, it will award damages based on the circumstances of your case. Types of damages to which the law may entitle you include general damages, which include things like past and future damage to your reputation in the community, humiliation, and emotional and mental anguish; nominal damages, which is an award for situations in which the harm to your reputation was not serious; special damages, the purpose of which are to compensate you for things like loss of a job or loss of profits; and exemplary damages, or punitive damages, the purpose of which are to punish the defendant.

Call a Houston Defamation Per Se Lawyer at Rose Sanders Law Firm

When another person or entity defames your character, you may have a defamation per se case. Get the help you need to seek justice against the at-fault party and restore your reputation. If you have been a victim of defamation per se, call the Houston Defamation Per Se Lawyers at Rose Sanders Law, PLLC at (713) 221-3773


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