What Is Libel and Slander?

| June 07, 2018

What you say matters. What you print matters, too. Business insurance includes protections for liability claims. Liability occurs when you make a mistake that causes another party to lose in some way.

General liability insurance is a key component of protection for every business. It is a basic and blanket level of protection. However, it can cover the most common losses. This includes libel and slander claims. You should take steps to minimize these types of claims, though.

What Is Libel?

The term itself can apply to businesses in a variety of ways. Individuals who defame another person through the use of publication can be libel.

What you published could hurt another person’s reputation. It could be a character assassination. In short, it is any type of printed defamation. For example, you publish a document with information accusing another of lying.

What Is Slander?

Slander is a bit different from libel. It is just as worrisome, though. It is any instances in which your business makes a false or otherwise damaging statement about another person or business. This ends up damaging the other person’s reputation. For example, you may claim another company does poor work.

Does Your Business Insurance Cover Losses?

If a person believes libel or slander occurred, he or she has the right to file a claim against you. It may become a lawsuit. It can get very costly.

Your general liability insurance will usually help cover these claims. This means your agent will work with the individuals. They may pay out a settlement for the losses. If you go to court, your insurer will help with the legal defense. Keep in mind, certain policies might not carry libel and slander protection.

How to Avoid Claims

A key component of disproving slander or libel is proof. If your business makes any claims about another person or business, and they are not accurate, you can be facing claims for libel or slander. It is best to take every step to avoid this. Therefore, make sure you say everything you need to say is true. If you do plan to publish something, have an attorney look it over. It can also be valuable to simply avoid defamatory statements. Teach employees these rules as well.

A claim for slander or libel can be costly. It is nothing to take lightly. Instead, work with your business insurance agent. If confronted with such a claim, your general liability insurance may cover it. Gather information, avoid making promises, and avoid confirming your actions. Let your insurance agent then help you with the claim.

For more information on Muncie business insurance, contact one of our agents at 317.398.9797.

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