What You Need to Know About Defamation
A common question people have is whether they can be sued for leaving a bad review for a business or service. It is important to know anyone can be sued, but if you were telling the truth or expressing your opinion, it probably won’t be a successful lawsuit.
At Maverick Ray & Associates, we provide experienced representation for individuals in a wide variety of cases. Our legal team knows Texas law and will fight for you and your family. If you are facing a legal problem, let us help find you the right solution. Contact our office today at (281) 947-2007 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Will I Get Into Legal Trouble for Leaving a Bad Review?
Whether you had a bad experience at a new restaurant or received substandard service at a doctor’s office, you may wonder whether you have the right to leave a bad review. Online reviews can help inform the public about a product or service.
Many companies incentivize customers to leave reviews as it can help them grow their business, but they feel attacked if the feedback is less than stellar. Some may even threaten to sue you for your bad review.
Fortunately, in most cases, the Constitution protects your freedom of speech, allowing you to express your opinion without fear of legal retribution. Therefore, a company generally cannot sue you for stating the truth or your opinion.
When Can I Be Sued for Leaving a Bad Review?
While most bad reviews are protected under free speech, there are exceptions. You cannot make false statements about a person or business. The statement must be said (slander) or written (libel) with intent or a reckless disregard for the truth and must be damaging to a person or business’s reputation.
In defamation cases, the statement must be made to a third party. In cases of libel, the false statement must have been published to a third party. Again, a subjective opinion does not constitute defamation since it is not a factual statement.
In either case, the statement must have actually defamed the person or business to be actionable. This means that it must damage their reputation in one way or another. Simply hurting a person’s feelings is not considered defamation.
Being Sued for Defamation of Character
As stated above, anybody can be sued by another person. Just because you are sued, however, does not mean that the lawsuit will be successful. If you were speaking the truth and expressing your opinion in the review, it is unlikely that a person would be able to recover damages for defamation of character.
While bad reviews can be frustrating for business owners, they are not illegal. Consumers should have the right to express their opinions about a company’s products or services without fear of legal action.
Want to Learn More? Contact Our Office.
If you have legal questions, you need the right answers. Contact our office today at (281) 947-2007 to speak directly with a knowledgeable attorney. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and will walk you through the legal process. Call now to get started.