Handling Online DefamationJuly 20, 2017
With the growth of online review websites, physicians nationwide face an increasing risk of unwarranted defamation. No one wants to hear disparaging remarks about them. When statements are false and have a negative impact on a physician’s practice, the remarks are especially troubling.
Physicians have limited legal options for dealing with such a situation. HIPPA regulations may be violated if a doctor responds to a false claim online, so fighting there is out of the question. Some doctors may choose to ignore the comments, while others may want to fight back. Below are some things to consider and possible remedies if you believe someone has defamed your name online.
Determine First if the Comments Constitute Libel
Physicians must remember that they are in the customer service business. In some cases, the person making comments is simply venting. Although the comments may seem terrible, they may simply be the rantings of a patient who just received their bill. On the other hand, there could be some truth to what they say. This may provide the practice with valuable insight on what changes could be made to improve patient satisfaction.
In some cases, though, the comments may be derogatory and libelous. If this is the case, the first instinct is usually to fight back. Physicians are wise to avoid taking any immediate action that could come back to haunt them in the future. Those who cannot, or do wish to ignore the defamatory remarks should seek the advice of a qualified Philadelphia physician lawyer.
Those who wish to fight the comments in court must make sure the comments meet the requirements for defamation. To prove this, the comments must be damaging to reputation, made to a third party (such as in an online forum), and false.
Decide if the Battle is Worth the Effort
One thing to keep in mind is that not every battle is worth fighting. For instance, if the comments are not getting much attention, it may be best to ignore them. Another possible solution would be to notify the website operator directly. Most websites have terms and conditions that allow them to remove comments that qualify as defamation.
Moreover, it is always possible that fighting vigorously against such comments could cause more harm. For instance, fighting may result in the comments getting more publicity or cause the person making them to engage in further derogatory claims. The more public such a fight, the greater the potential to cause real harm to the practice.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Fight Online Defamation
If you have questions related to potential libel on internet review sites, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. as soon as possible. Submit an online contact form or call 215-569-1999 today to schedule a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable and highly skilled physician lawyer in our Center City Philadelphia office, where we proudly serve health care professionals throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.