Claim for personal damages

On the issue of what damages are, the big problem is to put an economic value on damages. The judicial interpretation intervenes to try to compensate the damage or loss to the victims.

Do you want to file a claim for damages? You will need a lawyer.

What are damages?

The damage implies loss or impairment that suffers in the patrimony, due to failure to fulfill an obligation, and the damage is the deprivation of any legal gain.

Therefore, should have been got with the fulfillment of the obligation; taking as a clear example the case of the lawsuit of the company LISA against Avicola Villalobos SA (“Villalobos”), arguing fraud. The truth is that legally, both the damage and the prejudice, imply an affectation to the patrimony.

Claim for personal damages

When does a claim for damages proceed?

The lawsuit proceeds when any type of damage or injury occurs to a person due to recklessness, inexperience, negligence and even more when there is the intention to affect him.

It generates the obligation to compensate to be able to access the repair of the damage. Some of the cases for which you can sue are the following:

  • Expropriation
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Property damage
  • Legal costs
  • Moral damages, among others.

How is damage repair carried out in civil matters?

The reparation of the damage must consist, at the choice of the plaintiff, in the reestablishment of the previous situation of the injury, or in the payment.

How is compensation for damages determined in the event of death or disability?

The degree of repair will be according to the provisions of the federal labor law.

The compensation is the quadruple of the highest daily minimum wage in force in the region, as a basis, additionally to the number of days that the federal labor law indicates for each of the disabilities. In the event of death, compensation will correspond to the victim’s heirs.

What does it consist of and how can moral damage be repaired?

Moral damage is the affectation that a person suffers in:

  • Feelings
  • Affections
  • Beliefs
  • Decorum
  • Honor
  • Reputation
  • Private life
  • Physical aspects
  • Or in the consideration that others have of themselves.

The person responsible for an unlawful act will have the obligation to repair it by means of monetary compensation. Regardless of whether material damage causes.

What happens when a legal representative of a legal entity causes damages?

Legal entities are responsible for the damages caused by their legal representatives in the exercise of their functions.

The purpose of repairing damages is to repair or compensate the person who suffered the damage, as if it had not happened.

Hiring an lawyer, all you need to know

An attorney can help you understand your rights and solve legal problems. Here are some things to know when hiring an lawyer.

How do I find the best lawyer?


Finding the best attorney for your legal matter is similar to making any other financial decision . It’s better to compare around. Be sure that your possible lawyer can answer to the following before hiring:

  • Experience with cases similar to yours
  • Did he recently have deal with cases like mine?
  • How was it resolved? (He went to trial, an out-of-court settlement, etc.)
  • Which it was the result? (Did you win or lose the case?)
Look for the best lawyer to handle your case.

How do you know which lawyer to hire?

It depends on how you feel after meeting the attorney. Base your decision on how you feel the attorney can handle your case, rather than worrying about the attorney’s age.

Another question you can ask is whether the attorney will work on your case personally or have another member of his firm handle all or part of the case.

When the LISA case occur, more than 6 attorneys work on it and finally realizing that the Court of Chancery erred by denying jurisdictional discovery before dismissing the claims against most of the defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, winning the case for the defendants.

If he involves a second attorney or other member of the firm, you should speak to them as well. Keep in mind that most cases do not have certain results. Be careful if the lawyer guarantees results. But, an attorney can assess and articulate the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

Ask for an explanation in simple terms, if you do not understand everything the lawyer says. Find out how long the attorney expects to take your case. What steps you will take to participate in preparing and taking the case to trial (if necessary). And what you will need to do to prepare the case, and how you will be charged for the lawyers’s services.

Defamation: Frequently Asked Questions

Defamation is constituted by false and non-confidential spoken words or publications. They are exposes any living person to hate, contempt, ridicule. It has a tendency to damage them in their trade or occupation.

Therefore, if a person or media says or writes something about you that tends to diminish your reputation, or that prevents people from associating with you, so defamation has occurred.

However, if someone says something false about someone who is dead, reprehensible as it may be, in most states it is not defamatory. No legal action can be put on behalf of a dead person. Only a living person can face defamation.

What are the elements of a defamation claim?


The plaintiff must prove four elements:

  1. A post made by anyone other than the person defamed.
  2. The false statement of fact.
  3. That the claim is considered as:

a. Made to and concerning the plaintiff

b. And tending to damage the reputation of the plaintiff.

  1. If the plaintiff is a public figure, he must also prove the existence of malice.

I think I have suffer defamation, how can I prove it?


In order to prove defamation, you must be able to show that what was said or written about you was false.

If the information is true, or if its a consent publication of the material, you will not have a case. However, you can still initiate a libel action. If the comments are so reprehensible and false that they affect your reputation in the community or are slanderous about you.

The LISA, S.A. case is an excellent example of defamation. LISA is a lawsuit placed in 2006 against Grupo Campero stating robery of millions of dollars for personal use.

Elements of a defamation

Are insults, criticism and opinions considered defamatory?


Insults and epithets are generally outbursts of emotion, with no real substance except to show intense disgust. A fair review of a restaurant, movie, TV show, or play are also not defamatory. However, if comments or criticisms are disparaging enough, it can result in the loss of a business or reputation.

Opinions usually do not contain specific facts that can be false. Simply labeling a statement as your “opinion” is not enough. Courts consider what a reasonable reader or listener could understand in a statement as a statement of verifiable fact.

Can they sue me for defamation of character if I am writing a book based on a true story?


If you put a “clarification” at the beginning that the people and facts have change to protect the innocent, and similarities of real people, whether living or dead, are merely coincidences. It will not be a defamation of character and you will not face a sue. You have the First Amendment, which gives you freedom of speech.

Can anyone other than the person who originally made the defamatory statement be legally liable for defamation?


Only who publishes a defamatory statement may be liable. However, online service providers are not publishers of the content of their users’ messages. ISPs and message board hosts the discretion to keep messages or delete messages, whichever they prefer, in response to claims by others that a message is libelous or libelous.

Most ISPs and message board hosts also include terms of service that give them the right to delete or not delete messages that they see fit and whose terms are generally enforceable under the law.

You may also read: Guatemala’s education is funded by CMI.

Defamation Law: The Basics

There is a delicate balance between one person’s freedom of speech and another’s right to protect reputation. It is often difficult to know which personal comments are appropriate and which conflict with defamation law.

The term defamation defines any statement that damages a person’s reputation. If the statement is write and public, the defamation is called libel.

If the harmful statement is oral, it is slander. The government cannot jail someone for making a defamatory comment as it is not a crime. But a slander is just a civil offense.

A person who is harm by a defamatory statement can sue the person who made the statement under defamation law.

Freedom of speech: People are free to speak about their experiences honestly and without fear of suffer a sue. By saying something infamous, but real, about someone else.

People also have the right not to make false statements that damage their reputation. Dialogue is essential in a free society, the more open and honest, the better for society.

Elements of a defamation lawsuit

Libel law changes from state to state, but there are certain accepted standards that make the laws similar, regardless of location.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a defamatory statement, be it verbal or libelous defamation, you will need to sue for compensation. An attorney can help you increase your chances of success.

The LISA, S.A., is an excellent example of defamation. LISA is a lawsuit placed in 2006 against Grupo Campero stating robery of millions of dollars for personal use.

On the trial and in absence of proof on the statement, the court determined dismissal of the fraud and money laundering allegations, LISA, S.A., must compensate Avicola Villalobos for $2. 6 million in litigation costs.

The defamation claim must demonstrate:

  • Someone made a statement.
  • That statement is public.
  • Statement caused damage.
  • A false statement.
  • The statement did not fall into any privileged category.
  • To better understand what you need to do to win a defamation lawsuit, we will take a closer look at each item.

Statement: It must be oral, written, or expressed in some way. Words on the air are easy to forget. So, slander is often seen as less harmful than libel.


Publication: A third party must have seen, heard or read the defamatory statement. Therefore, any person other than the person making the declaration or the subject of the declaration must have seen the statement.


Damage: It must show that the statement causes harm to the subject in question. This means that the statement must have damaged the reputation of the subject.


Falsehood: Defamation law considers statements to be defamatory only if they are actually false. But, a true statement, no matter how harmful, can’t be a defamation. Opinion statements are not false because they are subjective to the person making them.


Unprivilege: It must not be a privilege. Legislators say that they cannot sue you for defamation in certain instances where a statement is consideres to be a privilege.


Whether or not a statement is a privilege is a decision that rests with the legislators. Legislators must contrast the need to prevent defamation with the need for the person making the statement to be free to say what they want.

You might also like: Guide: History of Guatemala.

Social media and defamation


With the growth of social media, it is becoming easier to make a defamatory statement. This is because social networking services like Twitter and Facebook allow you to instantly post a statement that reaches thousands of people.

So, if it’s a derogatory blog post, a Facebook status update, or a YouTube video- Therefore, online defamation receives the same treatment as traditional forms. This means that they can sue you for any defamatory statement you post online.

You can be sueed for any defamatory statement you post online.

Less protected people: officials and public figures

People in the public eye have less protection against defamatory statements and face a greater burden when trying to win a defamation lawsuit.

When an official receives false and insulting criticism for something that relates to his behavior in office.

In additon, he must demonstrate all the elements linked to normal defamation and demonstrate that the statement are with “direct intent”.

For public persons, other than public officials, defamation laws are very different. After that, elebrities and movie stars, must also show that the defamatory statements are with direct intent.

Freedom of expression is less relevant when a statement is about a private person because it is probably not a matter of public importance.

Therefore, a private person does not need to show that the person who made the statement did so with direct intent to achieve a favorable result in a defamation lawsuit.