When Can You Sue For The Invasion Of Your Privacy?

Have you ever felt like your privacy has been invaded? When it happens, you can feel betrayed, angry, and even embarrassed. In some cases, however, you also have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person who did it, depending on how your privacy was invaded.

Your Privacy Can Be Intruded Upon In Different Ways

There are essentially four ways that your privacy can be invaded.

1.) Your photo, name, or voice are used without your permission.

For example, a famous actress alleges that a video game company used her likeness (all the way down to the clothing and hand gesture used in a photo) as the basis for a character in a game, in order to attract customers.

However, private people can have their privacy invaded in much the same way, and profit doesn't necessarily have to be involved. Your cousin, for example, could steal your cell phone and publish photos of you in a bikini all over a social media website, pretending to be you.

2.) Your personal solitude is unreasonably intruded upon by another.

This is the type of injury that occurs when someone reads your private diaries, snoops through your medicine drawer to learn what illnesses you have, breaks into your email, or digs through your filing cabinet to learn about your bills. Another example is when you find out that your neighbor has been creeping into your backyard to watch you sunbathe.

3.) Public disclosure of private facts, for which there is no "legitimate public interest." In addition, the information has to be such that most people would find it offensive for the information to become sudden public knowledge.

Some people confuse this type of invasion of privacy with defamation. Defamation, however, occurs when what's being said about you isn't true. In this type of invasion of privacy, however, the truth of the issue is already established. What really matters is whether or not the information is objectionable in some way, and whether it serves any public interest to have everyone know.

For example, a woman discloses to her insurance agent a history of bipolar disorder while filling out an application for insurance. Her insurance agent decides to tell everyone in their social circle about her struggle with mental illness. That would be a clear invasion of her privacy.

On the other hand, many public figures don't have the same sort of protection in this regard that's granted to private citizens. For example, assume that the woman was running for city council and a newspaper finds out about her mental illness. The paper could publish the article, under the idea that there was legitimate public interest in the issue, since her mental illness could affect her ability to function in office.

4.) Some sort of published disclosure is made that puts you in a "false light." In other words, whatever is published unreasonably makes it seem like you have done something (or are involved in something) that is both embarrassing and untrue.

For example, a firefighter sued for this type of invasion of privacy when his image - taken from an old photo unrelated to the story - ran above a news article about a sex scandal in the city's fire department. The firefighter sued for being placed in a false light (among other things), since anyone could reasonably assume that he was somehow involved in the sex scandal just by taking the photo and headline into account together.

You have the right to take action if you've been the victim of this sort of personal injury. If your privacy has been invaded and you've suffered economic or emotional harm due to the situation, contact a personal injury attorney from Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA or a similar firm to discuss your case.