How to file a slander lawsuit

How to file a slander lawsuit

By Maddy Teka, Esq. | Reviewed by Bridget Molitor, JD | Last updated April 28, 2020

Although everyone can enjoy their First Amendment right to free speech, there are certain exceptions to this right. MostВ defamatory statementsВ are among those exceptions.

SlanderВ is one form of defamation that does not enjoyВ First AmendmentВ protection.

What Is Slander?

Slander occurs when someone speaks false and damaging statements about another person. Public officials and public figures often bring slander cases.

How Do I Prove Slander?

In a slander lawsuit, you have to prove the following:

  • Someone made a false, defamatory statement about you knowing it was a false statement
  • The statement does not fall in any privileged category
  • The person who published it acted negligently when they published the statement
  • You were harmed by the statement

Elements of Slander

In order to have a successful defamation lawsuit, you need to show the defendant made a defamatory statement that harmed your reputation. Let’s look at all the elements in detail.

1. The Statement NeedsВ to BeВ Defamatory

The restatement of torts defines defamatory statements as “communication that tends to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating with him.”

Generally, if a statement attacks a person’s reputation, then the statement might be slanderous. But courts will take a case-by-case approach to identify which statements qualify as defamatory and which ones are simply made in reckless disregard.

2. The Statement Needs to Be Published

Here, a third party must have heard or seen the defamatory statement. Note that published doesn’t mean the statement was actually published. It just needs to be communicated to a third person. So a post on social media or even a loud conversation is enough to qualify.

Courts will typically consider a statement “published” if another person has heard or seen the statement and understands its meaning.

3. The Statement Needs to Be False

The statementВ must be false. So, even if a statementВ hurts someone’s reputation, it won’t be slander if it is actually true.

The statement should also be objectively false. This means someone’s opinion like “this is the worst realtor I have ever encountered” will not be considered defamatory since it’s impossible to prove its falsity.

4. The Statement Needs to Be Harmful

If you are suing for slander, you must show that the spoken statement has harmed you in some way. Some examples of how you can do that include showing:

  • You lost your job because of the statement
  • The press is harassing you
  • You have lost your reputation in your community or with your friends or family

5. The Statement Needs to Target You

Here, the third party who heard the defaming statement needs to know that the statement was referring to the plaintiff. The court uses the reasonable person standard to identify whether a third party could reasonably believe the statement is referring to the plaintiff.

6. The Statement Needs to Show Actual Malice (for Public Officials and Figures)

Because of the nature of the work they do, public officials and figures also need to showВ maliceВ to win a defamation case. Actual malice means the person making the statement knows the statement was false or did not care enough to check.

This additional requirement came after the 1964 landmark Supreme Court decisionВ New York Times v. Sullivan.В This case emphasized that the First Amendment freedom of speech protects certain defamatory statements. The Court stated that mistakes could be made in public discussions, especially regarding public figures. Thus, these mistakes should be protected if they are “honestly made.”

7. The Statement Does Not Fall Under “Qualified Privilege.”

For you to successfully bring a defamation action, you must show the statement isВ unprivileged. This means, in some situations, you will not be able to sue someone even if all the other elements are met. Privileged statements include:

  • Witnesses testifying in court
  • Legislators making statements during legislative debates
  • Statements made between spouses

How to File a Slander Lawsuit

Filing a slander lawsuit is very similar to filing other lawsuits. Generally, you will take the following steps when you file a slander lawsuit:

  • File a complaint: This is the document that starts the lawsuit.
  • Serve the complaint: After you file the complaint, you need to serve the defendant following the service rules of your state.
  • Perform discovery: After service is complete, you and the defendant will send each other questions that help with your case. You will also be required to show documents that help your claim.
  • Attend settlement negotiations: This is the point where you decide whether to settle the case or go to trial. Your attorney’s advice will be very useful as they have ample experience on these issues.В

How Much Does It Cost to Sue for Slander?

Your lawyer may charge you on an hourly or on a flat fee basis. Some lawyers also charge on aВ contingency fee basis. All cases are unique, and attorney’s fees will vary based on your specific case and the attorney’s experience.В

How Difficult Is It to Sue for Slander?

Unlike libel, which is a written form of defamation, slander is spoken defamation, making it harder to prove. In addition, you must also show the person defaming you was at least negligent with the truth or falsity of the statement.

It is much harder for public officials and figures to sue for slander as they also need to prove actual malice in addition to the other elements.В

Additional Resources

  • Libel, Slander, and Defamation Law: The Basics
  • Elements of Libel and Slander
  • Defenses to Libel and Slander

Thinking of Suing for Slander? Call a Lawyer

If you believe you have been a victim of slander, then you can file a defamation suit and get special damages. But slander claims can be complicated and very detailed. An attorney experienced inВ defamationВ can help you with your legal issue and determine whether you can bring a defamation suit.

The simple answer to whether you can sue someone for slander is yes. However, you need to make sure that your slander lawsuit fulfills legal elements to have a legitimate claim. In this article, we will go through the legal grounds that constitute slander and the step-by-step process of how to file a lawsuit.

What is Defamation of Character?

Defamation of character is a wrongful act where someone publishes a false statement that would directly cause an injury to the reputation of another. It is commonly civil tort although some states may litigate defamation criminally, punishable by fines or imprisonment. In defamation lawsuits, it usually is a tug-of-war between the defendant’s right to free speech and the plaintiff’s reputation interest. There are two forms of defamation as follows:

  • Libel – this is when the false statement is published through written forms e.g. blog articles, magazines, newspapers, company newsletters, etc.
  • Slander – this is when the false statement is published verbally e.g. radio or television shows, overheard in a conversation, etc.

How to Prove Slander?

With the advent of the internet, the line between libel and slander has blurred significantly. When it comes to online defamation, courts and juries will judge based on the longevity of the false statement. For example, although an ephemeral picture message on Snapchat is written, because of their temporary nature, they behave more like an oral statement. Despite the differences, the key elements to establish a lawsuit is the same, as follows:

Element Description
The statement is false. The court needs to be able to prove that the statement is objectively false, which means opinions cannot be considered defamatory.
The statement is published. Someone must have heard, watched, seen, or read the statement.
The statement is without privilege. This means that some situations will not be considered defamation such as witnesses testifying in court, legislators during legislative debate, or statements between spouses.
The statement is harmful. You need to be able to prove that the spoken or written statement is the direct cause of an injury to reputation or a business’s financial loss.

How to Sue Someone for Slander?

When it comes to suing for slander, your biggest challenges will be proving damages and that the statement was unprivileged and defamatory. When you have satisfied these two conditions, then you have a legitimate claim. The filing process when suing for slander is similar as with most lawsuits are as follows:

  1. Know your state’s Code of Civil Procedure and the local court’s rules. If you have a federal claim, then you must research the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  2. Establish personal jurisdiction which is typically wherever the damages of the slanderous statement are suffered.
  3. Identify the appropriate court in which to file your slander case. (Note: This can be difficult in cases of online defamation.)
  4. Write up the draft of the complaint and include statements of facts.
  5. Serve the defendant correctly by using a registered process server.
  6. Allow the defendants some time to file a response.

After filing the lawsuit, the discovery process ensues. Both parties will then come into a settlement outside of court. And if the parties do not settle, the case will proceed to trial.

Should You Write a Defamation Cease and Desist Letter?

A cease and desist letter is an initial warning to the recipient that you wish them to stop engaging in harmful activities, otherwise, legal action will be taken. It is different from a cease and desist order where the letter does not have legal weight and cannot be compellingly enforced. There are several cease and desist letter templates that you can download and fill up online. You can also hire a legal expert to draw one up for you. However, if you choose to write your own cease and desist letter, there are considerations to take such as:

  • Take a soft-handed approach when writing the letter so it is not too aggressive but not too lax either.
  • Avoid making empty threats that you may not be able to follow through.
  • Have a clear reason for sending the cease and desist letter.
  • Use precise language when indicating which offensive behavior you wish to be stopped and what the legal consequences will be.
  • Include case laws or legal consequences to strengthen your letter.

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How to file a slander lawsuit

2. Tell us about your situation, including whether the statements were libel or slander, listing the statements that were made, explaining why they are false or misleading, and what consequences you have suffered as a result.

How to file a slander lawsuit

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How to file a slander lawsuit

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How to file a slander lawsuit

To file a slander lawsuit, you will typically have to file a complaint with the appropriate court in your jurisdiction. Before you can do that, however, you will usually have to make sure you understand what slander entails and can identify damages you have suffered because of it. You may then hire a lawyer to file the case on your behalf and argue your case in court.

Before you file a slander lawsuit, you may do well to research the types of acts that count as slander. This way, you can make sure you are attempting to sue for the right act. Slander occurs when another person uses the spoken word to spread falsehoods about you and these falsehoods have a negative effect on your reputation. If you believe this has occurred, you will typically have to consider whether or not you have suffered damages of some type. For example, if the slander has hurt your business, you may have a good case to present in court.

After determining that you have been a victim of slander, your next step may be a visit to a lawyer. While you can pursue a slander lawsuit pro se, which means representing yourself, this may not prove the best option. Most legal experts recommend seeking the help of an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your case and give you insight into your chances of winning. Proving the damages you have suffered can be very difficult in these types of cases. An experienced lawyer will understand the ins and outs of winning a slander lawsuit and may improve your chances for a satisfactory outcome.

Once you have chosen a lawyer and hired him, he will typically file a complaint on your behalf with the appropriate court in your jurisdiction. A complaint is basically the document that sets the lawsuit in motion and details whom you are suing, who is representing you in the case, and why you are suing. The complaint will likely include the facts of the case as you and your lawyer see them and the types of damages you have suffered. It will likely also include the compensation for which you are suing. You and your lawyer will usually have to arrange to have a copy of the complaint served to the defendant as well.

After you file a slander lawsuit, you will have to show up in court to make your case. Your lawyer will represent you and work to prove, with your help, that the defendant committed the slander and caused you to suffer damages. The defendant will have an opportunity to present his case as well.

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Suing For Slander

Slander can ruin an individual’s reputation and even someone’s life. Here’s how to sue for slander and begin a defamation lawsuit.

To sue for slander, you must file and serve a defamatory complaint. You must participate in discovery, attend settlement negotiations, and finally contact an attorney to determine if you want to sue. If you decide to proceed with your defamation lawsuit, you must calculate damages, gather evidence, and file the case in court.

Contact an attorney from Her Lawyer for additional assistance and information about your case.

What Is Slander?

Slander is when an individual makes a false and derogatory verbal statement about another person.

How Is Slander Different From Libel?

Slander is spoken defamation, whereas libel is written. This makes slander more challenging to prove as it must be done with negligence/intent to cause harm. To be considered slander, the statement needs to be defamatory, published, false, harmful, targeted, and malicious (for public officials).

Winning A Slander Lawsuit

In California, the elements of a slander claim include:

  • Someone made a false, derogatory statement about you while knowing it was not valid.
  • You were harmed by the statement: you lost your job, the press is harassing you, your reputation is ruined among peers.
  • The person who published it was negligent in making the claim.
  • You are a target of the statement.
  • The statement is not under “qualified privilege.”

What is Qualified Privilege?

An individual has qualified privilege from slander if:

  • Witnesses are testifying in court
  • Legislators are making statements in legislative debates
  • Statements are being made between/about spouses.

In this case, individuals are protected no matter what the offending action may be.

Steps on How to Sue For Slander

Step 1: File the complaint

Make sure to file your complaint with the appropriate court.

Step 2: Serve the complaint.

Making sure the defendant receives the complaint is called the service of process and must be performed by someone over the age of 18.

Step 3: Engage in discovery.

Pretrial discovery is when each party’s lawyers gather evidence to strengthen their case.

Step 4: Attend settlement negotiations.

Before going to trial, you must attend settlement negotiations to attempt to agree on damages and payment to make the individual whole.

Step 5: Consult an Attorney

An attorney can help you decide to settle during negotiations or to go to trial. If you choose to go to trial, you may need an attorney to represent you.

Step 6: Calculate Damages

Damages to take into consideration in slander lawsuits are actual damages, assumed damages, and punitive damages. In court, the judge and jury will determine if the plaintiff deserves monetary compensation.

FAQs About Suing For Slander

What Evidence Do You Need To Sue For Slander?

To sue for slander, you must have evidence that the slander is done with negligence, defamatory intentions, harm, and malicious intent. You must prove that someone made a false statement about you, it was published to a third party, the person acted recklessly and intentionally, and that because of the statement, your reputation was damaged. As slander is verbal, it can be difficult to prove.

Is It Worth Suing For Slander?

Suing for slander can be expensive. Contact an attorney who has experience in defamation cases to assist you and to help you determine if it will be worthwhile to sue for slander.

How Long Do You Have To Sue Someone For Slander?

You have one year from when the statement is made to sue an individual for slander. As long as your civil lawsuit is done within this statute of limitations, you will be able to sue for slander.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one is seeking to sue someone for slander or being a defamation/libel lawsuit, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified attorney for your unique legal matter. Get your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys in California today!

How do I complain about a defamation?

How to File a Defamation Lawsuit

  1. Step 1 – Gather the False Statements. Collect any and all evidence of the false statements made. …
  2. Step 2 – Show the Statement is Inaccurate. …
  3. Step 3 – Write the Cease and Desist Letter. …
  4. Step 4 – Claiming Damages. …
  5. Step 5 – Prepare and File the Lawsuit.

Can I sue for slandering?

If you are suing for slander, however, you usually do need to prove that damages were suffered. Proving that slander caused you financial loss is difficult, which is why slander cases are far less common than libel cases. … You can claim that the statement was true; a true statement cannot be defamatory.

What does it take to sue for defamation of character?

In order for a statement to be libelous it need only reach any person other than yourself: a large audience is not necessary. It is very difficult to sue for defamation and you will need a lawyer to assist you in court. To prove slander, you must show that the statements were heard by a third party.

How long do I have to file a slander lawsuit?

You have one year to file a defamation lawsuit in California, according to California Code of Civil Procedure section 340(c). And the “clock” begins to run on the date on which the defamatory statement is first made.

Is it hard to win a defamation case?

When it comes to lawsuits, a defamation case can be very challenging. For example, unless you hire an attorney who works on a pro bono basis, this type of lawsuit can be costly. The reason for this is that to win, there is a lot of fact-finding involved, which often requires the assistance of an expert.

Can we file defamation case against wife?

Defamatory case can be filed for the grounds other than 498A allegations made by your wife. … During defense evidence you may bring some witnesses and let the Court know that prosecution witnesses were purchased by your wife. You may use section 120B of IPC but it can be replaced by any other section like 34 or 149 IPC.

What qualifies as slander?

Also known as oral or spoken defamation, slander is the legal term for the act of harming a person’s reputation by telling one or more other people something that is untrue and damaging about that person. Slander can be the basis for a lawsuit and is considered a civil wrong (i.e., a tort).

What is defamation example?

Examples of Slander

  • Telling someone that a certain person has a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Relating to someone that a husband is cheating on his wife.
  • Saying a doctor has fake diplomas on his wall.
  • An employer claiming an employee stole equipment.
  • Stating that a severed finger was found in the soup at a restaurant.

How much does it cost to sue?

It’s difficult to come up with an average number for how much suing someone costs, but you should expect to pay somewhere around $10,000 for a simple lawsuit. If your lawsuit is complicated and requires a lot of expert witnesses, the cost will be much, much higher.

Is it illegal to slander someone on Facebook?

Defamation cases involving the internet and social media are relatively new, but the same principles apply. … Consequently, you may be liable for defamation if you spread information which constitutes a hurtful and untrue statement of fact about another person.

How do you handle slander?

10 Useful Tips to Deal With Toxic People & Defamation

  1. #10. Accept you can’t change what has happened and deal with it immediately. …
  2. #9. Take the time to reflect on your own behavior. …
  3. #8. You may want to consider involving law enforcement if it is serious enough. …
  4. #7. Do not try to address every accusation or negative thing said. …
  5. #6. …
  6. #5. …
  7. #4. …
  8. #3.

How do you stop someone from slandering you?

Cease and desist letters are a common way to stop unwanted behavior without having to file a lawsuit. In the case of slander or libel, a cease and desist letter would detail the offense and inform the accused that he or she may be sued if the behavior is not corrected and retractions made of harmful statements.

How do you win a defamation case?

To prevail in a defamation lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant made a false and defamatory statement about the plaintiff that was communicated to a third party. Thus, a false and objectionable statement sent in an email to the plaintiff’s co-worker may be libelous.

“Prior to taking lawful action over slander or libel, make sure to get a sense of what the process will entail.”

What does defamation mean?

Defamation is a written or verbal false statement about someone whose outcome is some kind of torment. Either a statement is passed at a social gathering or something is put up online, it can still be called defamation (“slander” is verbal defamation, whereas, “libel” refers to written defamation). Nevertheless, if you come across a situation where you have decided to look forward to a civil lawsuit – in response to an individual who defamed you, then you must know “how to file defamation lawsuit.”

First schedule an appointment with a defamation attorney

The primary step that you need to take is – negotiating your legal possibilities and situations with a lawyer. You have to come along with a copy of the defamation claim or statement (if it’s in written form) to your first appointment. In case, the statement was done online, then show up with a page printout or any comments that cite it. Afterward, prepare a list of individuals who can have an idea or information about the claim.

How to file a slander lawsuitSource: https://www.entrepreneur.com/

If there comes a situation, when after receiving the defamatory statement you are about to claim harm that is done financially, then come along with documentations such as account/ contract termination notices, income tax information, pay stubs, bank account statements, or something else that depicts you have had a monetary loss. Ensure that you bring proof that the defamation attorney can review – it’s always good to be prepared beforehand. Indeed, these are the basic things that will help you file a defamation lawsuit more effectively.

Lastly, be truthful. It is very important that you form a trust-based relationship with your lawyer. That specifies negotiating facts that can be used negatively in your case. Similarly, your attorney needs to be aware of everything openly, so that chances of getting caught off guard at a later time can be minimalized.

How to file defamation lawsuit – The step towards filling it properly

The case begins with the complaint

As soon as you have a meeting with the lawyer and s/he has performed certain investigations that specify you have a workable case you need to file a complaint. You can easily do that in the civil court of your state. Similarly, with this complaint you can initiate a lawsuit.

How to file a slander lawsuitSource: https://www.scic.com/

Service, answer, and discovery

Shortly after filing the complaint, the defendant is given the lawsuit documents (complaint and summons) and has a limited timeframe to submit the response.

Once the defendant submits the response, then the court sets a hearing date or a scheduling order. This period between the hearing date is known as the “discovery” stage. The parties involved can send interrogatories (set of written questions) via lawyers to exchange information. This step is important as both parties will learn more about each other and since they are legally bound to respond to the interrogatories with accurate information.

Moreover, the other party will request you to issue a specific document. Your lawyer will help you answer questions and collect documents. On some occasions, there are grounds that you can refuse to answer or hold back documents, and your lawyer can guide you about that.

Depositions

A deposition is a sworn interview in which the other party’s lawyer asks questions to the defendant on your behalf. This is a chance to observe yourself and ascertain how strong your claim is, how a jury might recognize you, and what kind of witness you will make at trial. Your attorney will cater to your preparations. However, questions might be asked to some other witnesses as well, for instance, relatives, friends, or doctors who have know-how regarding your case.

How to file a slander lawsuitSource: https://www.dhillonlaw.com/

How to settle defamation cases?

When you are done with the process of discovery, negotiations settlement generally starts at earliest as both parties have most of the data they need.

The decision to go to trial or to settle a case of defamation is certainly at the discretion of the plaintiff, but a lawyer’s suggestion can be pivotal. For dozens of reasons, lawyers may suggest settling even for the strong cases, relying on the scenario. There can be a possibility that you may get depressed or hesitant in sharing your private information in public. On the other hand, there can be a chance that things might be in your favor but the jury won’t be able to compensate your damages with awards, specifically in a situation where it is hard to determine the actual loss you have incurred.

Furthermore, some risk-averse or impatient people would preferably have something guaranteed that is available to them at the moment, than legally pursuing the case without any guaranteed returns. All such things are important to put under consideration, whenever the term settlement is being addressed.

How to file a slander lawsuit

The defamation laws aim to create harmony in the society. People should not ruin the reputation of others by making false statements and if they do, then they must be ready for the legal consequences. If anyone harms your reputation through slander or libel, then you can file a lawsuit against him/her for defamation. Read along to know when and how you can teach a lesson to the person trying to harm your reputation through slander or libel.

When you can file a lawsuit for defamation

You can file a lawsuit for defamation under the following circumstances:

    A false statement has been made against you in public – The false statement can be made verbally or in writing. It can also be in the form of pictures or gestures. Written statements (libel) are more injurious than verbal statements (slander) since they last for a long time.

The false statement must be made in public. This means a third person has read or heard the statement. The medium can be anything – loud conversation, television, radio, newspapers, leaflets, etc.

  • The statement is injurious to your reputation – You’re filing a lawsuit because a person has injured your reputation. You need to prove this at the court. For instance, you’ve lost job because of the negative publicity, your neighbors have isolated you, your life has become worse, the print and electronic media are harassing you constantly, etc.

If others don’t believe that the statement has made a dramatic impact on your life, then it you may not be able to file a lawsuit for defamation.

Steps you need to file a lawsuit for defamation

Here are the 7 steps you must take in order to teach a lesson to a person trying to defame you.

  1. Check if the statements are really false: You can’t file a case if the defamatory statement is true. In such a scenario, you can’t do anything even if your reputation has been damaged badly. So, you need to be rest assured that the statement is false.
  2. Set up an appointment with an attorney: Once you’re sure that the defamatory statement is false, injurious and unprivileged, it’s time to consult an attorney who has dealt with these types of cases for several years. It is not compulsory to consult an attorney. However, since defamation cases can be puzzling and laws differ from state to state, so it is better to consult an attorney.

The attorney won’t be able to represent your case if you’re not fully prepared. Make sure you’ve the following information before meeting the attorney.

Full description of the events surrounding the defamatory statement. What actually happened and why the person made the defamatory statement.

Papers, documents, printouts, and any other item that helps to prove the defamatory statement.

Papers containing written statements of people who have either heard or read about the defamatory statement made by the accused.

Any document that helps you prove the fact that defamatory statement fulfills the criteria of filing a lawsuit for defamation. Mention the fact that your life has become hell after the statement has been published. For instance, you’ve become jobless, your family doesn’t keep any kind of contact with you.

  • Take out a civil complaint form: Just visit the county court website and search for the civil complaint form. Once you download the form, make sure you fill it out with the following information: (a) slanderer’s contact details, (b) a brief summary of the defamation case.
  • Let the attorney review the form: Ask your attorney to check if the complaint form has been filled out properly. The attorney will be well-versed with the legal aspects of the defamation case. He/she can tell what exactly you need to put in the form.
  • Submit the form after paying fees: Once the form has been checked and approved by your attorney, submit it to the court after paying some fees. Make sure you have 2 copies of the complaint form. You can keep the first form with yourself and the other one will be sent to the defendant.
  • Notify the defendant about the complaint: The defendant needs to be served with the copy of the complaint form. You can appoint a process server for this purpose. The process server will serve the complaint to defendant at his/her house. In some cases, process servers will send someone (who the fits the role) to serve the defendant legally. The defendant can respond only after receiving the complaint.
  • Decide what you want: After the defendant receives the copy of complaint, he/she may try to contact you. The defendant may want to have a talk with you regarding settlement in order to stay away from court. Now, you’ve to decide the next course of action. If you just to want to get monetary compensation, then opt for the settlement option. If your reputation is more important, then go to court and try to win the case.
  • Conclusion

    If you’ve decided to get help from court to restore your good name, then prove that the statement is false and injurious. Keep it in mind that if the defendant is successful in proving that the statement is true, then your case will simply be dismissed. You won’t be able to do anything.

    You’ll get the chance to choose your option at court. You can either opt for jury or a bench trial. In case of a bench trial, a single judge will preside over the case. He or she will check everything and decide if your reputation has been really damaged.

    How to file a slander lawsuit

    Slander Laws NC – In Charlotte, North Carolina, defamation refers to any false statement that affects the reputation of another person, and is not an element of free speech and opinion. There are two types of defamatory statements, libel and slander. All personal injury defamation statements that are published through written communication are considered libel, whereas verbal or spoken defamatory statements are slander. Undoubtedly, it is much more difficult to prove slander, because unlike printed statements, verbal statements can easily be covered up or lied about.

    Elements of a Slander P ersonal Injury Defamation Lawsuit in Charlotte, North Carolina

    Not every spoken negative statement can be considered slander. There are a set of facts that your case must embody for it to be considered a case of slander. The elements of a cause of action for slander according to slander laws in North Carolina include:

    • A false statement: While filing a lawsuit for defamation in the form of slander, you must bear in mind that you will only have a case if the spoken statement was false. A true statement cannot be considered slander.
    • The statement was spoken to a third party: If the statement was only communicated to you, then no harm will come to your reputation or character; and so, the statement will not come under defamation of character unless it is spoken to a third party.
    • The speaker knew or should have known that the statement was false: If the speaker knew or should have known that the statement was potentially false, but communicated it to a third party, anyway, then the speaker acted negligently. Negligence is an important element of a slander lawsuit.
    • The statement caused some kind of harm to you: The harm caused to you could involve your reputation or your personal or professional relationships, for example. If the statement caused no harm, then you do not have a valid claim.

    How Can the Victim of a Slanderous Statement of Personal Injury Defamation Prove Defamation of Character?

    Generally, when someone files a suit for slander, they have a difficult battle ahead of them. This is slander is much more difficult to prove than written libel, and it usually does not cause as much harm as libel. However, if someone’s slanderous statements about you did in fact negatively affect you, then you would be wise file a claim and strive to prove your case. Proving slander involves proving defamation of character. You must prove that the speaker used defamatory language that in some manner affected your reputation, questioned your morality and integrity, or damaged your personal and/or professional relationships.

    You will then have to prove that a third party heard the defamatory statement, and that the speaker acted with negligence. To prove slander, you do not need to establish that the speaker intended to defame you or acted out of malice; you only need to prove that they acted recklessly and without reasonable care, and this affected you in a major way.

    Further, you must prove that the slanderous statement was false. Some statements may have a mixture of truth and falsehood in them. In such cases, you must prove that the false part of the statement directly affected you and caused some kind of harm. For example, if you were arrested, and someone revealed this fact to someone, then this is not an untrue statement. However, if they state that you were arrested for child abuse, when you were actually arrested for something else entirely, then this statement has an element of truth (you were arrested) and an element of falsehood (you were not arrested for child abuse).

    Lastly, and most importantly, you must prove any personal, monetary, or professional harm. Slanderous statements can cause harm in several ways. For example, your employer may start to think that you are not trustworthy and you might lose future employment opportunities. If the slanderous statement was about your business, then you might start to lose clients and customers. If the slanderous statement was about your character, then it might cause problems with personal relationships.

    In the example above, your relationships with your own children could even be affected. If you are a separated or divorced non-custodial co-parent, and the custodial parent was informed that you were arrested for child abuse, when this is an untrue statement, then they may wish to stop your visitation with your children. This could lead to personal and legal expenses, lost time with your children, and further harm. Whatever the harm may be, you must be able to prove it in court. You might provide evidence of lost clients, lost income, lost parenting time, or lost relationships, for example.

    How to File a Slander Lawsuit – Proving Slander is Different for Public Figures

    Slander laws NC for public figures – If you are a public figure, most of your life is open to scrutiny by the public eye. Public figures, according to slander laws in NC do not have as much protection from slander as private figures. When a public figure files a claim for slander, he or she must prove all of the above elements that constitute normal slander, but will also have to prove the existence of actual malice. This means that a public figure will also have to show that the speaker not only acted recklessly or negligently, but also that the speaker spoke the slanderous statement with an intent to cause harm.

    Questions About NC Slander and Defamation Injury Laws Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates to Discuss Your Defamation Personal Injury Claim

    Since slanderous statements are only spoken statements, it could be difficult to prove that the statement was even made. Even if there is proof of the statement, it might be difficult to find the source. In our example of being arrested, and finding out that someone spread a false rumor as to the cause of your arrest, you may not know who spoke the lie.

    In such a case, all of the elements needed to prove a case of slander are present, including false statement, actual harm, damage to your reputation, and the existence of a third party. However, you do not know who started the rumor, so you don’t know who to file a claim against. The attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates are knowledgeable about and have experience with North Carolina personal injury defamation slander laws and can help you by investigating the claim and discussing your options.

    If you are not sure how to file a slander lawsuit, consider working with a compassionate Charlotte NC personal injury lawyer on your case for slander and defamation of character. This will ensure that you present the strongest case to recover compensation. There is no need to know how to file a slander lawsuit simply call us to schedule your FREE consultation today. Call 844-387-8677.