How to File a Defamation Lawsuit
If you are a victim of defamation and you can provide evidence for the harm the defamatory statements have caused you, then you may consider filing a defamation lawsuit. This article will explain what defamation is, how to recognize defamatory statements, and how to file for a defamation lawsuit. The article will also introduce you to DoNotPay, an AI-powered robot lawyer that drafts formal letters on your behalf to fight defamation.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation occurs when a person publishes or communicates a false or derogatory statement about an individual to a third party, which causes serious harm to the individual’s reputation.
|Elements of Defamation||Explanation|
|The derogatory statement must be false.||If the statement is true, then it is not defamatory, although it might be an invasion of privacy.|
|A defamatory statement, although false, must be presented as a fact about the plaintiff.||If it cannot be empirically proven as right or wrong, then it may be classified as an opinion, which is not considered defamation.|
|The statement must also either be published, or communicated to a third party for it to be considered defamation.||If the statement is made directly to the individual it is about, and no one else, then it is not defamatory.|
|The statement must be made with malicious intent.||The defendant must know that the statement is not true while saying it, or saying it with negligent disregard to its truthfulness.|
|The statement must provide serious harm.||This serious harm includes monetary damages or harm to the reputation of that individual.|
Certain states, however, have laws that automatically consider certain false statements defamation. For example, a false statement stating that the person has committed a serious crime, is unchaste or has a sexually transmitted disease, or is unfit/incompetent for their work is automatically considered defamatory.
Libel vs. Slander
There are two types of defamation, libel, and slander. Libel is a written form of defamation, commonly found in publications such as:
- Social media platforms
Slander, on the other hand, is an oral form of defamation that may occur in:
- Conversations in public gatherings
- Conversations on the phone
- Programs on TV
How to File a Defamation Lawsuit
- Establish whether you have a valid defamation claim. Your claim must encompass the aforementioned elements of defamation.
- Calculate your damages. There are generally three types of damages in a defamation case:
|Type of Damages||Details|
|Actual Damages||Provable and compensable losses that the plaintiff has suffered regarding property, business, profession, job, trade, etc. These damages include any expenses that the plaintiff was forced to pay due to the defamatory statements.|
|Assumed Damages||Damages the court assumes the plaintiff has suffered from. Typically, these damages are ordered when no actual damages can be established.|
|Punitive Damages||These damages are not usually imposed in defamation cases, as they are meant to punish the defendant for their conduct and or the derogatory statements.|
- Gather all available evidence regarding the defamatory statement, its impact on you, and proof of the damages you suffered, and that of the defendant who made the statement.
- Filing a cease and desist letter.
Why You Should Write a Defamation Cease and Desist Letter
If you are a victim of defamation, you may draft a cease and desist letter before filing a lawsuit. However, writing a cease and desist letter on your own is not your best option. It is critical that the letter accurately proves the harm that you have suffered, or the letter may be disregarded by the perpetrator.
DoNotPay Can Write A Defamation Cease and Desist Letter for You in Minutes!
DoNotPay can draft a strongly worded cease and desist letter for you in seconds! All you need to do is:
1. Search for the Defamation Demand Letters product on DoNotPay.
2. Explain your situation, including whether the false statements made were libel or slander and an explanation on why they are false. Outline the consequences you have suffered as a result.
3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will generate a formal demand letter on your behalf with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.
DoNotPay Also Helps you With
- Libel vs Slander
- Cease and Desist Order
- Defamation of Character Lawsuit
- Cease and Desist Letter Template
- Online Defamation
- What Can I Do If Someone Is Slandering Me
- What Does Slander Mean in Law
- What Does Libel Mean in Law
- Federal Defamation Law
- Defamation of Character in the Workplace