What Does Slander Mean in Law?

Defamation Demand Letters What Does Slander Mean in Law?

What Does Slander Mean in Law?

Defamation can be very serious and occurs when one individual makes an injurious claim that is false about another, causing harm to reputation. A form of defamation that is posted or written is classified as “libelous”, while defamation that is performed or spoken is classified as “slanderous”.

Regardless of the classification of defamation that has occurred, it must cause some kind of emotional, physical, financial, or reputational injury to be eligible for a lawsuit. If you believe that you have been defamed and it is causing you harm, your first step should be to write and send a “cease and desist” letter to the offender. This letter will warn them to cease their defamatory statements, setting the precedent for future legal action if they continue.

How Is Defamation Defined?

Slander and libel have two very similar definitions, but vary on one key element:

  • Legally, libel must leave a permanent record to be classified as such
    • Libel can include emails, news broadcasts, journal articles, or blog posts
  • For slander, the statement must not leave a permanent record anywhere
    • Slander can include phone calls, speeches, gestures, or actions

What Isn't Defamation?

Oftentimes, proving defamation appears to be an easy and clear process, certain legal loopholes inhibit claims from being distinguished as slander or libel:

Freedom of speech

  • Concerning the First Amendment, any citizen has a right to not be subjected to falsehoods that defame their character.
  • To summarize, defamation is not illegal by legal capacitation. Defamation is simply a pretense of the legal system designed to pay damages to people who have been affected by freedom of speech legislation.

False light

  • A false light claim comes into fruition when a defamatory statement about an individual is publicized, with the implication that the statement is valid when it is false.
  • False light is mainly used to “protect the plaintiff's mental and emotional well-being” rather than their reputation, which defamation protects.


  • Disparagement strives to cover the bounds of the financial and economic interests of the plaintiff or their products.
  • Defamation also works to protect personal interests, but disparagement covers extra-personal boundaries, such as property ownership and non-liquid assets.

Typical Differences Between Slander and Libel in Law

  • Slander refers to oral statements that harm a person’s reputation by telling one or more people about something defamatory
  • Slander also differs from libel in the sense that it usually appears in written form
  • Depending on the type of statement that was issued and whether it was slanderous, there can be legal ramifications
  • Slander is also considered to be more temporary than libel since it involves speech or statements
  • Unlike libel, damages from slander are not presumed and must be proven (this is referencing general damages)

General damages and special damages

  • In libel defamation lawsuits, general damages are typically emotional or physical
  • These do not need to be proven with evidence, and word of mouth is great enough to substantiate evidence
  • In slander defamation lawsuits, all damages are considered “special” or damages that need to be substantiated with significant evidence
  • Special damages, however, interact with losses (either financial or physical) that need to be substantiated with significant evidence

What Do Typical Slander Claims Include?

Generally, defamation claims include the following four components: 

A falsified statementA false statement was delivered concerning the plaintiff
An unrequited publicationThere was a false publication that was not permitted through a third party
A fault of the defendantThe fault by of defendant amounted to negligence
Damages incurredThe publication caused damages to the plaintiff

Should You Write a Cease and Desist Letter?

  1. In sum, writing a cease and desist letter in response to slander is a complex process that can discredit your case, if not done properly.
  2. If you can’t legally prove the damages you’ve suffered, detail all components of corresponding evidence from a legal standpoint, and put together a legally sound letter, you may run the risk of your letter being thrown out and even being unsuccessful if you go to court.
  3. In addition to this, many lawyers who are capable of drafting cease and desist letters will charge an exorbitant fee of money for even responding to your inquiries!

Draft a Cease and Desist Letter in Minutes!

DoNotPay is a fast and convenient solution! The cease and desist letter DoNotPay drafts will detail the information about the case, demand retraction, warn against future statements, and will order that the accused abides by local state statutes.

All you need to do is:

1. Look for the Defamation Demand Letters service on DoNotPay.

2. Tell us about your situation:

    • Were the statements slander or libel?
    • What were the statements?
    • Why are they false or misleading?
    • What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?

3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will immediately generate a formal demand letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.

That’s it! You can expect a precisely drafted cease and desist letter in response to your cause, instantly! 

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