Defamation of Character
Defamation of character refers to someone making a false statement to another party. There are different types of defamation of character:
- Libel – a written false statement or one that is posted online.
- Slander – a spoken false statement.
The statement must be published in some manner and seen or heard by a third party. In order for a defamation claim to be successful, the statement must cause harm to their reputation and be false.
Harm to Reputation
The most common harm as a result of defamation of character is professional reputation damage. It may harm your job prospects, cause you to lose your job, or harm your business.
Along with reputation harm, financial harm swiftly follows. A lost job or damaged business will cause financial harm. This lost income will be the damages in the defamation of character case.
Defamatory statements that falsely accuse someone of sexual misconduct or a crime are per se defamatory, which makes it automatically defamation of character. The statement must still be false and made recklessly or with malice.
Defamation of Character and Pain and Suffering
Defamation of character is stressful and will often cause damage to mental or physical health. If the plaintiff experiences health issues, they may be able to claim compensation for things like:
Proving Defamation of Character
Most jurisdictions only require proof that the defendant made a false statement about the plaintiff either recklessly or knowingly and published it so other parties could see. These jurisdictions will presume some level of harm in a defamation of character case. Other jurisdictions require proof of the harm the plaintiff suffered in defamation of character claims. Public figures or well-known people may also have to prove harm. You will need to provide proof in the form of documents or witnesses as well as your own testimony. For example, financial harm in defamation of character claims would require proof in the form of pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, etc. Pain and suffering in defamation of character claims would require medical bills, testimony from medical providers, and testimony of people close to you.