If you have heard some lies being spread about yourself and you feel as though this has caused you harm, then you may be able to sue the liar for defamation. While some people may understand that hurtful lies can be damaging, they might not understand exactly what a defamation case involves. Keep reading to understand some facts about defamation.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation is a legal term that is used to describe the action of spreading a damaging untruth. Defamation can be separated into two different categories, libel and slander. Libel is defamation that occurs when a lie is written. For example, emails, letters, blog posts, and newspaper articles can all be a form of libel. Slander is the form of defamation that occurs when someone orally defames another.
For an action to be considered defamation, it must be considered an outright factual lie. The statement must be one that harms the individual in some way. Typically, the statement harms the reputation of the person in some way. Also, the statement must be spoken or written in a way that others will see or hear it. For example, if you run a daycare center and an individual says that you hit a child in your care, then this is a slanderous statement if you did not do this.
How Is Defamation Proven?
If you want to file a defamation case against another person, a publication, or a business, then you will need to prove that slander or libel has taken place, which means that you will need to provide proof first that the statement was a false one. Basically, you need to prove that the individual actually said something false. For example, the defaming person said that they witnessed you hit a child on January second of this year. To prove that this was false, you could acquire witness statements from individuals you saw on that day who did not see this action. Witness statements are typical in most defamation cases, and the more statements, the more proof you will have that the statement was not factual.
Also, you must prove that the individual actually made the defaming statement to another person. A witness statement by the third party or a copy of the email or article can provide the proof you need. You need to show that the statement was negligent as well and that you were damaged in some way or that you could have been damaged.
If you want to proceed with a defamation case, you will need to figure out what the damages are for the case. This can be incredibly difficult. In some cases, the damages are extremely small, so you need to think about this before proceeding. For example, one child may have been pulled from care at your daycare facility in response to the lie. The monetary loss of the income would account for your damages.
What Is Defamation Per Se?
Certain types of defamation cases require you to explain and prove that some sort of damage took place. This can be difficult to do if you do not have any tangible proof of damages. However, certain types of slander and libel statements are presumed to be harmful to your reputation. These statements are defamation per se and do not require a great deal of proof to show that they are harmful.
Lies that indicate you did something criminal or improper for your profession are defaming. This is also true of lies involving your sexuality or health. The lie about you hitting a child would fall under the category of improper behavior for your profession and illegal activity. This means that you will need to provide less evidence during your defamation case to show how the lie was harmful to you.
For more information on how to file a case, contact a lawyer at a law firm such as Spesia & Ayers Attorneys At Law.