Suing a Doctor for Defamation of Character
Even though medical professionals are meant to guarantee our health and well-being, they are not immune to making defamatory statements. If you have experienced defamation of character by a doctor, you have a right to pursue damages through a defamation lawsuit
This article will teach you everything you need to know about seeking damages after a defamatory statement made by your doctor!
The Basics of Defamation
Pursuing a defamation lawsuit can be intimidating, but not if you understand the terms and legal vocabulary involved. Here is a basic breakdown:
- Defamation refers to someone's reputation being harmed and damaged through the publication of false statements
- Two kinds of defamation exist:
Can Doctor-Patient Privilege Impede My Lawsuit?
Although a key requirement for any defamation lawsuit is proving that the statement was of no privilege, meaning that it was not made within any court of law or professional confidence, this does not extend to include doctors.
When it comes to civil or criminal cases (excluding confidentiality agreements), statements made within a medical setting are not covered by the doctor-patient privilege. This means statements can be used within a defamation lawsuit.
On What Grounds Can You Sue Your Doctor for Defamation of Character?
|To be considered defamation, it must...||Why?|
|be a false statement||The statement by your doctor must've been false. An example could be if they accused you of using your medications for illicit purposes or said that you were not improving because you were irresponsible when it came to taking your medications correctly.|
|be a matter of negligence||Negligence refers to a statement that was made without concern for the facts and was reckless. If your doctor did not seek to properly understand and discuss before defaming you, he/she may be negligent.|
|not be privileged||Statements made in the court of law or within client-attorney privilege are privileged and cannot be used in a claim in court. Statements made by a doctor about a patient are perfectly acceptable, as they do not legally possess privilege.|
|cause damages||You must prove that defamation by your doctor affected you in a damaging way. This can be damages related to your work life, your personal life, your mental health, etc.|
What Damages Can I Pursue?
Damages will inherently depend on whether the statement was libel or slander. Here are the damages usually awarded in a defamation lawsuit:
- Punitive damages: require proof of malice or fraud and are used to treat cases of slander.
- Actual damages: used to restore the plaintiff to the condition they would have had if it weren’t for the defamation. Can also compensate for emotional damages (such as distress or anxiety).
- Presumed damages: the court issues these with evidently defamatory statements. A slanderous statement must be objectively and directly offensive in order to pursue this kind of damage.
Can Doctors Themselves Pursue Defamation?
Accusations against doctors can lead to grave damages to their medical practice. Just as doctors may receive a defamation lawsuit, they themselves can pursue legal action as well. Doctors are often vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits, and oftentimes the malpractice accusations can be considered defamation if they are proven to be false.
Get a Cease And Desist from DoNotPay!
Sometimes pursuing a lawsuit can bring attention to your defamation without meaning to, and any legal battle can involve heavy expenses. Some doctors can earn a considerable income and would have no trouble mounting a heavy defense against your lawsuit.
For this reason, we understand that pursuing a defamation lawsuit may not be your best option, and we recommend a cease and desist letter as a viable alternative. A cease and desist letter is a formal and powerful document that states your discontentment with the defamation in question and the damages you incurred. It can not only request that the person desists from any further defamation, but also that they retract the statement they made publicly.
The good news is that DoNotPay can help you draft a personalized cease and desist letter quickly and conveniently, here’s how it works:
1. Search “defamation” on DoNotPay and choose the Defamation Demand Letters product.
2. Briefly explain the defamation issue - tell us who is responsible, what was said, and the damages you incurred.
According to your location, DoNotPay will draft a formal cease and desist defamation letter that contains the appropriate defamation laws that are being broken!
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