Understanding Slander Laws in Washington State
To understand slander, first, you need to know what defamation is. If you believe that you have a defamation claim, that means that someone made a statement, which damaged your reputation. In that case, you have the right to sue the person for defamation. Slander is one category of defamation along with libel. If the defamatory statement was made by spoken words and not in writing, that means you have a slander claim. However, suing someone is pretty time-consuming and generally expensive with all the lawyer and court fees. The best course of action is to write a cease and desist letter before going to court.
If you live in Washington State and you believe that you have a slander claim, this article is for you! We will talk about the slander laws in Washington State, the elements of a slander claim as well as how you can easily write the cease and desist letter with DoNotPay!
The Elements of a Slander Case in Washington State
To be successful in a slander case in Washington State, you will have to prove all of the following elements:
- The defendant made a false statement about you.
- The statement was unprivileged.
- The statement damaged your reputation, business, or personal life in some way.
- The defendant acted with reckless disregard for the truth when he made the statement.
Also, you need to be aware of the fact that Washington State’s defamation statute of limitations is two years. This means that after the statement has been said, you have 2 years to sue the person who made the statement. After 2 years, your claim is not valid.
The Laws You Need to Know About Washington State’s Slander Cases
There are some elements of slander laws in Washington State that are slightly different from other states. Let’s look at them in detail:
Private Figure vs. Public Figure
Like all states, Washington State distinguishes between private and public figures in slander cases. Public figures and limited-purpose public figures have to prove that the defendant acted with actual malice when he made the statement.
- Limited-Purpose Public Figures: the people that are not exactly famous but in some way became involved in a matter of public interest
- Actual Malice: the person who made the statement willingly ignored the truth, knew what he said was wrong, and made the statement willingly to damage the person.
Allowed Defenses to a Slander Case in Washington State
|Truth||If the defendant can prove that the statement he made was true, then your claim is not valid.|
|Privilege||If the statement was privileged, then you have no right to sue the person. Examples of privilege:
|Opinion||If the defamatory statement was merely an opinion, then you will have no case against the defendant.|
Slander vs. Slander Per se
There are two types of slander cases. In Slander Per Se cases, you do not have to prove that you were damaged in some way. Some defamatory statements are considered damaging in themselves, and you do not have to prove it. For example:
- The defendant charged you with criminal conduct
- The defendant said that you have an infectious disease.
In normal slander cases, however, you have to prove actual damage such as being fired, losing customers, or having financial loss.
Recoverable Damages Allowed by Washington State Law
- Actual Damages: these are the damages that can be proven, such as being fired, financial loss, etc.
- General Damages: these damages are caused by someone having his reputation damaged, which affects personal or business life.
- Punitive Damages: these are extra damages, meant to punish the person.
Write Your Cease and Desist Letter With DoNotPay!
If you believe that you have a slander claim against someone, the first thing to do should not directly go to court. Instead, you should first try to resolve the issue out of court, which will save you time and money. Serve a cease and desist letter to the person, who made the defamatory statement. This letter will ask the person to retract what they said, to recover your damages, and let them know your intention to take legal action.
All you need to do is:
1. Search Defamation on DoNotPay’s website or app.
2. Choose slander and answer the following questions: What was the defamatory statement and why was it false? What are your damages as a result of the defamatory statement?
3. Based on your state’s defamation laws, DoNotPay will generate you a customized cease and desist letter!
You are done! After DoNotPay will generate a powerful letter for you, you just need to serve it to the defendant and get rid of all the hard work!
What Else DoNotPay Can Help You With?
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- Sue Robo Callers
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