Most businesses make sure they have business insurance, even if just general liability and business property coverage, but they don’t always have proper coverage for things like slander or libel. Without the right insurance coverage, you could be facing thousands of dollars in legal costs even if you’re found to be not guilty of the claims made against you. Do the right thing and make sure you have adequate coverage from these types of accusations before the claim is made.
What is Slander and Libel?
Slander and libel are claims made against you because someone made a false statement that caused someone to suffer. If this false statement is oral (spoken), the term is slander. On the other hand, if the statement was in writing, say in a newspaper or magazine, then the term is libel.
For example, slander could be an instance whereby an employee made a verbal claim against another employee that ultimately got them fired, causing them to suffer, when it wasn’t true. That employee could later sue the company for firing them without justification. Libel requires the false statement to be in writing, which can include a publication, website or even an email that was passed around. Libel cases made online are becoming more popular, especially in terms of bloggers or social media. A small statement that caused harm to an employee or client could turn into a messy lawsuit, which is why you need business insurance coverage.
Slander or Libel Claims
In order for a claim to be valid against your business, the claim must fit certain criteria. The statement will have to have been verbal or written and cannot be “spoken under breath” or considered not an official statement. It must also have been inaccurate information, caused harm, injury or loss of some kind and the harm or injury be caused by the defendant (whom the claim is based after). So in terms of an employee, someone at your company must have made a claim that was not true, caused harm (such as being fired) and be the one to initially cause the harm to the other employee who is making the claim. If the statement turned out to be true, then that would be considered a defamation claim.
Choosing the Right Protection
You may not be able to prevent slander or libel claims, but you can protect your business from them. Even if the claims turn out to be false, it still costs you in legal fees. Be sure to read the fine print and make sure it not only covers slander and libel claims, but look at exactly how much it covers for these types of risks. Your level of risk for libel or slander claims may be larger or smaller depending on the type of business and size of your business, so consider that when choosing the right liability policy. Read the policy thoroughly before signing anything and ask our insurance agent questions about this coverage.
Liability insurance should be mandatory coverage for any business, and always include libel, slander and defamation coverage. If you are at a higher risk for these claims, get a liability policy with additional coverage. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.