Have you heard, “I can say what I want. This is America.” Well, half of that is right. This is America. The false part, you cannot say anything you want and get away with it.
Here in the CSRA, I have seen more and more people going to social media to express their views on everything from politics to the quality of their nachos. Some of this is protected by Georgia law, but you need to be careful. A slight slip can get you before a judge.
Here are some general rules.
- The truth is a pass. If what you say or write is factually true, there is no case. Here are some examples. You say your boyfriend is having an affair, and he is having an affair. Not much he can do. You say a certain garage badly repaired your car, and your engine falls out on I-520. Well, the truth is the truth.
- If you are wronged, you only have one year to file a lawsuit under our libel and slander laws. After that, your right to sue in Georgia is gone forever. This can be tough since it appears a web post can exist on the internet for decades even if it is taken down.
- Politicians are treated differently than average citizens. Speaking broadly, public figures must prove the writer knew the truth but published the lie. An average citizen must only prove the writer didn’t do enough to find out the truth.
- The false statement must cause damages. If you say a college football coach fixed a game and he gets a new job with the NFL, it doesn’t look like your comments really hurt him.
I have seen marriages destroyed, people refused employment and injury cases lost over a tweet or Facebook post. Plus, I suspect there will be additional lawsuits as more people get increasingly critical and less careful about what they write and say.
Be careful; defending a lawsuit can cost a lot of money. That too is part of “This is America.”
If you suffer a catastrophic injury or suffer a wrongful death, you can talk to us at the Hawk Law Group for free. 706-444-4444. We want to help. We are working remotely and in-person but are always available.
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GA Personal Injury Attorney