Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. This old rhyme may not hold true anymore
As the internet becomes easier to publish how we feel, what we eat, and what we are doing, it has also made it easier to publish defamatory or libelous statements against another person or business. How many times have you screenshoted a post one of your friends made online and sent it to someone else in shock. Or how many times have you been in a coffee shop overheard someone say something cringe worthy about another person. If the statement, whether it be verbal or in writing, was false, hurtful or seen/heard by another person, it could be defamation.
Slander and Libel are forms of defamation. Slander occurs in verbal communication where libel occurs in print or other visible or audible media (such as Facebook, Instagram, videos, etc). Defamation is defined by law as an intentional tort. Victims of intentional tort can file a civil law suit.
Children are becoming more of a player in this discussion. They have grown up with technology around them, a all times. With the increased spotlight on bullying and adolescent suicide, we will continue to see more civil suits brought up against parents and their children.
Your homeowners policy may cover your liability when your negligence causes property damage or bodily injury to a person not residing in your home. Unless you have a personal injury endorsement on your policy, your standard homeowners probably doesn’t cover you for defamation. This could still leave you on the hook for legal defense costs and any damages.
So where can you pick up the best coverage? An umbrella liability policy can provide additional coverage. You can buy Umbrella policies with limits of $1 million or more. These policies provide peace of mind and are typically very affordable. Please contact me for more information on insuring your liability and other risk exposures or to answer any questions you may have.