(November 8, 2022) WellMed is facing a defamation lawsuit after accusing an insurance company operating in San Antonio of “steering” its customers. The constitution protects the right to free speech through the first amendment and is a critical part of the criminal justice system in the United States. However, not all speech is protected by this amendment. In this article, we will look at what constitutes defamation and why CareMore Clinic Solutions believes they have grounds for a lawsuit.
Did you know?
Defamation is actually a personal injury claim. If the defendant can show that the defamation caused significant emotional or phycological distress, those can be claimed as damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation is the act of damaging another party’s reputation by saying or writing false information with malicious intent. The law separates defamation into two categories – written or oral. Written defamation is referred to as libel, while oral or spoken defamation is referred to as slander.
In the widely televised case of John C. Depp II v. Amber Laura Heard, Depp claimed that statements that Amber Heard wrote were false and damaged his reputation. This was an example of libel or a written defamation personal injury claim.
In the above case, the accusations that WellMed made against CareMore Clinic Solutions were made in person at a WellMed clinic where CareMore employees were stationed, as reported by San Antonio Express-News. The CareMore staff was allegedly loudly berated in front of clients by WellMed’s marketing and communications manager. This defamation case would fall under slander since the accusations were verbal.
The burden of proof falls on the accuser in a defamation personal injury claim. In the above case, it is up to CareMore Clinic Solutions to prove the following in order to have a legitimate claim for compensation:
- The statement was, in fact, made by the WellMed employee
- The statement was either made verbally or in written form
- The loss CareMore Clinic Solutions suffered was a result of the verbal or written statement
- The statement was not truthful
- The statement was not protected
Additionally, the plaintiff will need to prove that the damaging statement that was made was driven by malice or the intent to harm. In order for a false, damaging statement to constitute defamation, it has to be made with malice. That can be difficult to prove. It is also sometimes difficult to prove that any damages the plaintiff suffered were actually the direct result of the defamation. There are some statements that are protected and can’t easily be sued for damages in a defamation lawsuit over. Those are witness statements made that were not true and possibly damaged the plaintiff’s reputation. It also encompasses documents created by, and conversations had by lawmakers in the legislative chambers. Unfortunately, most defamation claims are the result of statements made in other common areas of life, like the workplace, as in the above scenario.
Personal Injury Attorneys in San Antonio
The Law Office of Carabin Shaw has been representing the personal injury claims of those in San Antonio and across Texas for thirty years. Our team understands the complexities behind defamation personal injury claims. For assistance, contact our attorneys today at 800-862-1260.