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Blog Archive

The Definition of Defamation: Libel vs. Slander

“Defamation” is a term which covers the ways a false statement made about someone can damage their reputation. These cases can also be referred to as “defamation of character” or “disparagement.” Defamation occurs through statements made either orally or in print in a newspaper, magazine, online, or other printed sources. By legal definition, these false statements or communications cause emotional or financial harm to the individual discussed.
Personal Injury is an umbrella term that encompasses any physical injuries as well emotional or psychological damage that occurred as the result of an accident or incident. Personal Injury lawsuits are common as the injured have rights and the incentive to protect them.

The implications for the injured party vary drastically depending on the severity of the accident. For some, a small settlement suffices which in most cases will include medical expenses, any property damage incurred (ie: auto collisions), pain and suffering, punitive damages and lost wages.
If you or someone you love has suffered a serious personal injury, there are several steps you will need to take on the road to recovery. You must be proactive and quick to act following the accident in order to maximize your chances of securing fair and adequate compensation. To get started, contact Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC so we can walk you through the steps of putting your life back together again. Call our office today for a free consultation: (317) 593-2467.

After an Accident: Do’s and Don’ts
Riley Williams & Piatt has filed a class-action lawsuit for Tom Richards against Volkswagen of America, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Mr. Richards seeks to represent all Hoosiers who have purchased a Volkswagen from 2009 - 2015. “I’m very upset,” Mr. Richards stated in response to a reporter’s question. Mr. Richards purchased a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Only recently did he learn that the vehicle had been equipped with a “defeat device” that allowed it to pass EPA standards for testing, while putting out pollution 40 times higher than EPA requirements.

“I’ve had a couple of VW’s before and was very pleased with the cars that I’ve had. But this one now, it’s not what I want. It’s not what I bought. It’s not what I want,” said Richards. “Volkswagen decided to lie to 11 million American consumers and I don’t know how many Hoosiers. But, the vehicle was engineered to lie. Volkswagen set out to do something incredibly wrong,” stated William Riley.
Of interest to class action lawyers is the case of Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.

The issues presented are: whether a case becomes moot when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his or her claim; whether the answer to the first question is different if the case is a putative class action; and, whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity for government contractors is restricted to property damage arising out of a public works project.
One of things that make the United States great is the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. We have a right to review, post, comment, web site, Facebook post or comment, Twitter tweet or other on-line statement. If you are being wrongfully accused of internet defamation, you need a lawyer who specializes in internet defamation legal matters to understand what it will take and what it will cost to defend your case.

In many ways, courts treat defamation on the internet similar to off-line defamation. Because internet defamation is by definition written rather than oral, it is technically internet libel. Libel is Defamation which is written such as on a web site. Most on-line defamation occurs through libel by posting on Yelp, Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook, website comment, bulletin board post, business review, rating or blog post.
Most of the time, personal injury accidents could have been prevented with precaution. Personal injuries include a wide range of accidents including prescription drugs accidents and automobile accidents.

Whenever someone is hurt due to someone else's negligence or wrongful action, the person will be eligible for compensation. Most personal injuries include physical, emotional, and financial hardships. If you or a family member has been the victim of a personal injury, then our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve.
At Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC, an Indianapolis based law firm, Will is the head attorney. His practice focuses on plaintiffs' complex litigation including class actions, pharmaceutical and medical device injury, product liability, serious personal injury, defamation and business litigation.

While Will studied at the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1989, he was also the Executive Editor of the Indiana Law Journal. He was one of the youngest lawyers in Indiana to be awarded the prestigious AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which designates the highest rating for quality of representation and ethics. Due to his outstanding achievements, Will has been locally and nationally appraised numerously. Will has been honored numerous times locally and nationally with selections to Indiana Super Lawyers, Indianapolis Monthly’s Top Attorneys in Indiana, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, National Association of Distinguished Counsel, Nation’s Top One Percent of Lawyers in 2015, and U.S. News & World Report - Best Lawyers, and Lawyer of the Year in 2015. Further, Will is a charter member of Rue Ratings Best Attorneys of America.
Joseph N. Williams is a trial lawyer who has over the years recovered in excess of $20 million dollars for victims of corporate misconduct and negligence. With the help of his two firm partners, William and James, Joe was able to battle State Farm in a six-week jury trial in which State Farm accused his client of widespread insurance fraud. Joe’s client was going to be charged with fourteen felony counts if convicted, but Joe along with the rest of Riley Williams & Piatt, was able to demonstrate that State Farm withheld and altered evidence that demonstrated his client’s innocence. Because of this and Joe’s strong closing argument, the jury found his client not guilty and his client recovered a $14.5 million dollar defamation verdict: the largest defamation verdict in Indiana history.

Although Joseph N. Williams mainly focuses on negligence and corporate misconduct, he also handles various other types of trial work, which ranges from personal injury to complex business disputes. As well, Joe dedicates a portion of his practice to protecting consumers through statewide and nationwide class action and mass tort litigations. From this, he has successfully protected class certification decisions in the Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court. Joe can handle all aspects of class certification, which includes but not limited to briefing, arguing, and obtaining of class certification.
Within Indianapolis, thousands of people live with medical devices implanted inside their bodies. From heart defibrillators to surgical mesh, these medical devices are inserted to help the individual gain a better form of living. However, oftentimes, a medical device is not properly tested for safety and causes bodily harm to an individual. If this has happened to you, you need to call Riley William & Piatt to fight for your rights and get the recovery you deserve. Our firm specialized in product liability cases and will fight tooth-and-nail for you. We make sure all of your medical expenses and mental trauma is paid for, and most importantly, the irresponsible manufacturers will either have to change their ways or they will be put out of business. You will not only save yourself from future harm, but you will also be saving the lives of hundreds of other patients as well.

If you or a loved one is the victim of a faulty medical device, you are not alone. There are usually dozens of other victims within the Indianapolis area that have been harmed by the same device as you. Alone, a single plaintiff product liability case might not hold up in court because manufacturers have an army of defense lawyers and will try to delay the recovery process as much as possible. But together, we can build a strong product liability case and bring crooked OEMs and the Food and Drug Administration to court in a class action lawsuit to prevent terrible events like this from happening again. From fraudulent paperwork to paying off the Food and Drug Administration to move forward a product faster, manufacturers need to be accountable for their actions and not be swayed by greed.
In order for defamation to occur, false statements need to be made towards another person that causes emotional distress or financial harm to the individual mentioned. Defamation can come in all forms of media ranging from oral statements to statements published online. One type of defamation that is very common within the U.S. is when statements are made accusing or questioning the professional status of an individual. This type of defamation is highly damaging to a professional’s business, and the harmed individual can easily recover damages without specific proof of damage to their business due to Indiana’s laws of defamation per se.

However, there are other situations were suing for defamation isn’t quite as easy as the scenario listed above. In other cases, suing for defamation can be exceptionally difficult to win because not all negative statements are defined as defamatory. Statements made in the perspective of an individuals opinion does not qualify as defamatory because it is stated as the individuals entitled opinion of your business. Having phrases like “I think” or “I believe” before a negative statement usually does not warrant the term defamation and will require proof of material harm in order to get recovery for the statements made. This scenario of possible defamation falls under defamation per quod and it is very hard to receive damages for these types of statements.
Defamation occurs through statements made either orally or in print in a newspaper, magazine, online, or other printed sources. By legal definition, defamation is false statements or communications concerning another person that causes emotional or financial harm to the individual discussed. A common type of defamation our law firm encounters often are statements made accusing or questioning the professional status of an individual. This type of defamation is considered highly damaging and is recoverable without proof of damages due to Indiana’s laws concerning defamation per se. However in other situations, suing for defamation can be extremely hard because not all statements that are negative are considered defamatory. For example, when someone says, “I think” before a negative statement, it usually is his or her opinion and does not qualify as defamatory. In these situations, defamation per quod comes into play and requires proof of material harm in order to get recovery for the defamatory statements made.

If you believe your situation is not the latter type of opinion based statements and you want to protect your reputation from harm, it is highly suggested to contact a law firm to help fight these statements and get recovery for them. At Riley Williams & Piatt, we are experts in defamation lawsuits and can help you fight in court to fix your harmed reputation. Our law firm has an impressive record of success in cases involving injury to one’s reputation and our firm has accumulated more than $15 million for clients in these types of cases. We even have had one of the largest defamation verdicts in Indiana history.
Have you or a loved one been involved in an accident that has negatively impacted your life and current quality of living? Was the occurring accident caused by someone else’s negligence?

At Riley Williams & Piatt, our firm is dedicated to fighting for the injured to protect their rights and get the compensation they deserve to help them return to the standard of living they are accustomed to. We represent people who have been injured or who have a loved one who has died due to the wrongdoing or fault of another person or a company. Some personal injury matters we handle include:
Joseph N. Williams is a trial lawyer at Indianapolis-based law firm, Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC. He has recovered more than $20 million for victims of negligence and corporate misconduct, and is deeply passionate about holding corporate America responsible for its behavior. Furthermore, he has devoted a large portion of his practice to protecting consumers through statewide and nationwide class action and mass tort litigation.

Joseph attended Vanderbilt University Law School for his J.D. and was awarded at his school the Tennessee Bar Association’s Access to Justice Law Student of the Year in 2004 for his commitment to the legal issues confronted by those in need. Joseph was awarded the Indiana Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, a media outlet that recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state. As well, in 2013, he was awarded the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association’s Max Goodwin Young Lawyer Award.

We all know many times it’s impossible to plan for an accident.

If you are dealing with a personal injury in Indiana, you might feel completely lost and anxious about how to begin going forward again. Personal injury cases are extremely time dependent and the outcomes are decided by how fast you act. You will need to make decisions quickly to get the compensation you deserve from your personal injury case. If you are unsure about making decisions quickly, you are not alone. Many clients come to Riley Williams & Piatt, so they can take a breath of relief and have the aggressive attorneys at Riley Williams & Piatt help make the best legal decisions.
William N. Riley is the principal-managing attorney of the Indianapolis-based law firm, Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC. His practice focuses on complex forms of plaintiff litigation such as class actions, pharmaceutical & medical device injury, product liability, defamation, and business litigation.

Will attended Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington and was executive editor for the Indiana Law Journal. After graduating in 1989, William became one of the youngest lawyers in Indiana to be awarded the AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and thereafter has earned a multitude of local and national law awards such as Indiana Super Lawyers, Indianapolis Monthly’s Top Attorneys Indiana, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, U.S. News & World Report, National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and Nation’s Top One Percent of Lawyers 2015. As well, Will is a charter member of Rue Ratings Best Attorneys of America.
At Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC, our attorneys have achieved a number of successful results in cases involving mistakes made by doctors, nurses, or hospital personnel. These cases are often referred to as medical malpractice cases.

Medical Malpractice claims are complicated and proof of wrongdoing is complex and difficult. In Indiana, there are numerous procedures and statute of limitations that need to be followed. Litigation of these claims requires a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney. Riley Williams & Piatt has the extensive experience in medical malpractice cases that you need to bring you positive outcomes. Our Indianapolis firm's successes in medical malpractice cases include settlements in cases in ophthalmology, osteopathy, cardiology, family practice, neurosurgery and hospital care. Currently, we are handling major medical malpractice cases involving the following:

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional falls below the standard of care in treating a person.

To have a strong medical malpractice claim, one must have the following:

  • a significant injury occurred to the patient
  • the doctor or hospital staff’s performance did not meet the standard of care that is required of medical practitioners
  • the lack of care or medical mistake directly caused the injury suffered by the patient.

This can occur in a variety of ways. Our aggressive attorneys, Joseph Williams and James Piatt, have years of experience in fighting for patients or patient’s family members to get the compensation and recovery they deserve. Whether the medical malpractice caused you to lose a loved one or caused them to become sicker, it is important to get advice from one of our attorneys to see how you can build up a claim to get some compensation for what has occurred.

Many times when someone experiences an injury due to any type of defective products (read more about product defect types here), they feel the only proof that is required is the defective product and proof of the injury. There are many ways to prove fault in a product liability case. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of legal theories in regards to product liability, you’ll be much more confident going forward with your case.

First theory to prove fault is by proving negligence of the manufacturer.

Here are the requirements that one must prove in order to use negligence as the basis of their claim:
  1. The manufacturer owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  2. The manufacturer breached that duty of care.
  3. Manufacturer’s product or conduct is most of the reason why plaintiff is injured.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “An estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually and 52,000 people die from TBIs.”

Just like brain injuries themselves, the legal procedures for brain injuries are extremely complicated. There is a wide range of TBIs varying from mild injuries to serious ones. Here is a list of facts and myths to help you get a better understanding about brain injuries.

Fact 1: Here’s a list of common accidents that result in a TBI:

  • Hit by an object
  • Physical contact with another player
  • Hitting your head on the ground, pole or any other object
  • Getting jolted so your brain shakes inside your skull
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falling from three or more feet off the ground
  • Falling down five or more stairs
  • Falling off a bicycle without a helmet