Online defamation against dentists: Learn what it is and how to handle it

Dentists should learn what defamation is, take it seriously, and learn how to defend themselves. They should not ignore it.

Aug 6th, 2014
Defame 1

Internet defamation is on the rise – especially against dentists. Why? You can thank the rise of online review websites. So, what can dentists do who have had their professional names doused in mud? The first option is to do nothing, but doing so could mean a sharp decline in new patients. The second option is to pursue a dentist defamation lawsuit. That said, it is important to remember that defamation is not simply a negative opinion.

Under United States libel law, these three elements must be met in order for a plaintiff to emerge successful in an online defamation lawsuit:
1) Publication – The suing party must prove that the defendant was the one who posted the material about the plaintiff.
2) Harm – In order for a statement to be deemed legally defamatory, it must cause the plaintiff material harm (i.e., loss of business).
3) Negligence – Perhaps the most nuanced aspect of defamation law is the “negligence clause.” To win, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant either purposefully posted the lie -- or at least was negligent in posting it.

Here is an infographic courtesy of defamationlaw.net detailing facts and figures about defamation litigation as it relates to dental professionals.

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