Being spoken about negatively can be a frustrating, embarrassing, and difficult situation to handle. This can be made even worse if the statements made are not true. If there are inaccurate statements made about you, it can hurt your reputation and have an impact on both your personal and professional lives. If someone has spoken negatively about you, and it has hurt your reputation, it could be an example of slander and defamation of character. This could provide you with a chance to file a defamation of character or slander lawsuit. It is important to understand what constitutes defamation of character and what needs to be proven in a claim.
What is Defamation of Character and Slander?
In general, defamation of character occurs when someone’s reputation is damaged due to inaccurate statements made by another party. This can include situations in which the statements are knowingly or unknowingly made to be inaccurate. Generally, the statements will be considered slander when they are spoken. This differs from libel, in which the statements are made when written down. The statements can be considered slander whether they are made in a big public setting or spoken between just two people.
How to Prove Defamation of Character
If your character has been defamed due to the negligent comments made by another person, you could have a valid slander and defamation of character claim that can be pursued in a civil court. For you to win these cases, you will need to be able to clearly prove that you were a victim of slander. To do this, you will typically need to prove four different things:
The first thing that you will need to prove is that the statement made was false. If someone has made a negative statement about you, it will not be considered defamation of character if it is largely factual. If you can prove that the statement was inaccurate, the other party can be held liable.
Statement Was Made to Another Person
You also will need to prove that the statement was made to another person. Simply thinking negative thoughts or speaking to yourself is not enough to constitute slander. However, if they have a conversation with as little as one other person, the statements can be considered slander and defamation of character. To prove that these statements were made to another party, you will often need a witness to corroborate that the statements were made.
Another part of proving slander and defamation of character is that the other party was negligent in their actions. If someone knowingly made up a rumor, it can be an example of negligence.
Damages Were Incurred
For you to win a slander and defamation of character claim, you will also need to prove that you incurred real damages. Unfortunately, most people will be slandered at some point, but typically there are no actual losses incurred. However, there are situations in which someone could lose their job, have stress in personal relationships, or incur other losses as a result of the slander.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
If you are a victim of slander or defamation of character and want to pursue further legal remedies, it is important that you hire an attorney. A lawyer can offer a range of services that can help ensure your case is heard and you receive fair compensation.
Consultation on Case
When you first start working with an attorney, the first service you will receive is a consultation on your case. Defamation of character and slander lawsuits can be complicated and it is important that you fully understand your situation and the legal process. Your attorney will help evaluate your case and give the support you need to determine how to best move forward.
Support Filing Paperwork and Notices
When defamation of character lawsuit takes place, you will need to file various forms of paperwork and legal notices to the other party involved. Not doing so by a certain date could invalidate your claim and not following proper processes can slow your case. When you hire an attorney, you will know that all notices are filed the right way. This will include identifying a specific amount of damages that you are seeking.
Handle Negotiations with Other Party
Those that are going to pursue defamation of character claims will find that most cases are settled outside the courtroom. This is typically done through back and forth negotiations with the other party. Your attorney will be able to present your case, discuss the damages, and seek to receive a fair settlement. If the case is not handled this way, you may need to pursue a full civil lawsuit. In these situations, your attorney can help build your case and present it in front of a judge.