Suing for Slander: A Quick Guide
Defamation comes in two forms: slander (spoken) and libel (written). Although slander is not a crime and the defendant may not need to go to jail, it is still considered a civil offense. This means that the victim may sue for compensation for the damages caused by the slanderous party.
Everyone is entitled to their right to free speech. But slander, when proven, is not protected by the First Amendment.
In this article, we will walk you through examples of slander and the steps you can take to sue.
How to Prove Slander
Slander is when someone says untruthful and potentially harmful statements about another individual. Before you can sue someone for slander, you need to be able to prove slander in court. When suing for slander, you need to check for the following:
|Someone intentionally made a false, damaging statement||True statements cannot be considered damaging. For example, someone may have said you are a child abuser. But if you were indeed a convicted child abuser then it is not slander.|
|The statement is unprivileged||If the statement is privileged, then it cannot be considered slander. Examples are witness testimonies in a trial or lawmakers’ statements in legislative settings.|
|Someone acted negligently when they published the statement||Published does not necessarily mean printed. An example of this is when a third party heard or saw the statement being said in a TV show, on social media, or in a conversation.|
|The statement is injurious||The statement made must have caused harm such as losing your job, becoming an outcast in the family or society, etc.|
How to Sue for Slander
Suing for slander is similar to filing other lawsuits. In a regular court, you may engage the services of a lawyer, but if you choose to sue in small claims court, you must represent yourself. Most lawyers charge a flat fee or on a per-hour basis. Suing in small claims court keeps your expenses to a minimum as you don’t need to worry about lawyer fees. Generally, suing for slander will proceed as follows:
- File a complaint to initiate the lawsuit.
- Serve the summons to the defendant following your state’s service rules.
- Perform discovery by exchanging questions with the defendant that can help with your case. You will also be asked to show evidence and other information that you plan to use in your complaint.
- Attend settlement. At this point, you will get to decide whether to settle for mediation or arbitration or to bring the lawsuit to trial.
- Show up to trial.
Damages of Slander
Damages are how much money you can get for suing for slander. It is crucial to establish slander and the longevity of the damaging statement as this will determine the damages. The more harmful a statement is, the higher the compensation will be awarded to the plaintiff. There are different types of damages such as:
- Actual damages – These are the quantifiable damages that can help return the plaintiff to the status quo before the slander happened. An example of this is reimbursing financial losses such as lost income, expenses due to mental health treatments caused by slander, and many others.
- Non-economic damages – These are damages that are intangible and unquantifiable such as emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, and others.
- Punitive damages – These are damages that are meant to punish the defendant.
How to Sue for Slander with DoNotPay
Although you can save a lot of time and money in small claims court, suing for slander by yourself can be a daunting process. There are countless forms to fill up, demand letters to draft, and bureaucracies to overcome. DoNotPay is here to help. Our world’s first robot lawyer can streamline the filing process for you. With DoNotPay, all you have to do is:
- Log in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now Product
- Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including photo proof
That’s it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. We’ll even mail a copy of your demand letter to the individual or business you are suing!
DoNotPay Has Helped Users Win
Can’t afford a lawyer? You don’t need pricey legal help to sue someone for slander in small claims court. DoNotPay has a proven track record of helping our users to sue the following: