Did you criticise someone in front of others? Are you the victim of such comments? If yes, it is important to understand the meaning of defamation.

Defamation consists of words, gestures, writings or images publicly disclosed and that are harmful to the person related to the statement, which constitutes injury to reputation. The exception to this rule consists in the disclosure of a statement for the best interest of the public, even though it is harmful to the person involved in its content. As instance, it is the case of a bad political decision.

Furthermore, defamation is not necessarily a malicious act on the part of its author.

The damages related to the injury of reputation are linked to the consequences affecting the victim. Therefore, the damages are greater if the reputation is important for a person’s livelihood, which is the case of a businessman. Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, the damages are linked with the number of the recipients of the comment.

If you are the victim of defamation you have one year, from the day on which you became aware of the existence of the harmful comment, to file a judicial demand against the person responsible for the injury of reputation (see the article on our site : Extinctive Prescription).

 If you generated the defamatory comments, your civil liability insurance will most likely not cover you as it is regarded by insurers as an intentional or a negligent act.

Think twice before criticising someone in front of others.