We generally trust the medical professionals who we visit to be who they say they are. They usually have a few degrees hanging on their walls and their websites offer more information about their background and training. Such was the case for a young man who was offering medical services to his ‘patients’ in the West Palm Beach area recently. However, in this case, the young man was not actually a doctor. The West Palm Beach teen accused of posing as a doctor was only 18 years old and had previously been cited for practicing medicine without a license as recently as October 2015. After his arrest and subsequent release, he allegedly said he was saddened and felt disrespected by the allegations.
Harm Caused By Untruth
Though this case is quite bizarre, it raises the question of what can happen to someone if they are wrongfully accused of wrongdoing. What if this teenager was actually a medical prodigy, had actually earned his medical license at an early age, and was now legitimately practicing medicine at his young age of 18? These accusations could potentially harm his professional image, his reputation, and even his livelihood. In this hypothetical scenario, he would likely have a good case for defamation of character against those who accused him of the wrongdoing. Florida law defines defamation as someone (the defendant) publishing a false statement about another person (the plaintiff) to a third party that causes harm to the plaintiff because of its untruthful nature. Publishing untruthful claims about a doctor could certainly fall into this category – it is not at all hard to believe that in a case like that a doctor could potentially lose patients as a result of the untrue statements.
Taking It Back
So what happens if someone has published something untrue about you and they have to take it back? Florida Statute 836.08 outlines the way in which untrue statements can be retracted and states that if the false information was published in good faith, due to an honest mistake, and that there were reasonable grounds to believe the information was true, and a correction, apology or retraction is published in the same manner as the original untruth, then any criminal proceedings would be discontinued. That does not mean that the defendant in such a case would be off the hook completely – he or she could still be found liable for personal injuries suffered by the defamed plaintiff. The plaintiff could pursue damages for lost earnings, lost business opportunities, and lost clients both past and future.
If You Have Been Defamed, We Can Help
Defamation is a serious issue that can cause economic loss. Particularly in this age of social media, information spreads quickly. When it is good information it can be a huge benefit – but if it is untruthful information, it can destroy a reputation quickly. If you have experienced defamation of character, contact the legal professionals at Boone & Davis. Our experienced Fort Lauderdale attorneys will work with you to help you understand the law and what you may be entitled to receive. Contact us today online or by calling 954.556.5260 to schedule your free consultation and to learn how we can help you obtain relief.