Grounds for Defamation Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Guide
Mullen Law Firm discusses about what are the grounds for defamation lawsuit and other details that you need to know before proceeding in filing a defamation case. Learn more!
According to New York defamation law, defamation is a statement that injures a third party’s reputation. The tort of defamation includes both libel (written statements) and slander (spoken statements). Meaning if someone has made a false and defamatory statement hurting your reputation, you may be eligible to seek compensation.
Before proceeding with filing your defamation case, read on to know more about filing your defamation lawsuit and the grounds required by law!
What Is a Defamation Lawsuit?
Defamation generally occurs when an inaccurate, false, or defamatory statement has been made or published about a plaintiff to a third party intentionally or with reckless disregard.
In New York, if a statement has exposed another individual or business to hatred, contempt, or aversion, inducing an evil or unsavory opinion in other people’s minds while causing particular harm constitutes defamation.
It’s safe to say that pursuing a defamation suit against someone can be difficult, but it is not impossible. To prove defamation, you need to determine that the statement can easily be described as false, published, harmful, or unprivileged. It’s imperative to show that you have been the victim of inevitable negative defamation consequences, such as a decrease in income, loss of money, or tarnished reputation.
Defamation lawsuits are highly damaging to a person’s reputation, particularly if they lose. An experienced libel attorney can assist you with your defamation lawsuit and fight aggressively on your behalf.
Lawsuit for Defamation
If you have been slandered, shamed, or held in contempt by someone through defamatory statements, lost your reputation, and suffered negative financial consequences, you do have legal options. While defamation lawsuits may seem overwhelming and time-consuming, a vital step is to seek help from a defamation lawyer to navigate your case.
Under New York defamation law, a balance must be met between one individual’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and another individual’s right to ensure their good name and reputation. Sometimes, a person may not know what speech violates New York defamation laws or what type of speech is permissible under the law.
Defamation is a civil matter in New York. This means that if you suffer emotional or financial damages due to someone else’s false statement, you can sue the offender and bring your defamation claim to the appropriate court. So, defamation of character doesn’t qualify as a criminal offense but rather as a tort or civil wrong.
Grounds for a Defamation Lawsuit
To seek compensation for your damage and injury, the defamatory statement must have been made to a third party.
Whether the defamation has been in the form of a spoken statement, or declarations published in social media postings, online articles, blogs, or newspapers, there are some grounds for a defamation lawsuit:
The statement should be made
The information must be defamatory
The statement must refer to the plaintiff
The statement must be false
The statement must be published
The statement must have caused injury
The wrongdoer has been aware of a third party hearing the false information while believing it to be true
The defamatory information should be factual according to the third party
Unfortunately, internet defamation may present challenging concerns due to the ease of online materials and how most postings can be made anonymously. Such cases face further complications because website owners cannot be held responsible for online materials others posted on their sites. If you’re running a business and are accused of defamation, you may want to check whether your insurance covers the advertising injury.
Public figures have a particularly difficult time winning defamation cases than private individuals. But a skilled defamation lawyer will combat defamation allegations to protect your reputation either way.
Cost of Defamation Lawsuit
Understanding that every defamation case is unique is essential, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer for calculating your case’s costs. Several factors may impact the potential costs of your defamation lawsuit, such as:
Whether the defendant’s identity is known or unknown
If you are looking for monetary relief
Fees for local counsel
Type of attorney fee structure
If the defendant contests the case
If a court order removes the content in question
Amount of defamatory content online
If you were the victim of false statements and want to prove actual malice, get in touch with our attorneys at the Mullen Law Firm.
Filing a Defamation Lawsuit
If a false statement violated defamation laws, you may be eligible to seek compensation for defamation of character. Although most people believe the First Amendment (right to free speech) protects them, some aspects of defamation injure public and private figures. Depending on the levels of financial injury you prove, you can seek compensation for:
Special damages for which you need to rely on extrinsic evidence to determine how the statement was considered defamatory – e.g., estimating the numbers of lost customers, itemization of investment costs
Actual damages such as lost business, lost income, and expenses while dealing with defamation
Punitive damages, which are awarded when the defendant was especially malicious and acted with spite or hatred
What to Look Out for When Filing a Suit for a Defamatory Statement
If you are looking to claim financial harm from a false and defamatory statement, bringing as much documentation as possible, including income tax information, bank statement, or other things that show you have lost money dealing with defamation, is vital. To ensure a solid defamation case, consider the following steps:
Check on whether you have valid defamation claims
Identify the proper court to file your defamation lawsuit
Gather as much evidence as possible of the false statements and content
Comply with all the filing requirements and juridical proceedings
Consider alternative tactics if necessary
File and serve the legal complaint on the defendant
It might take a while before your defamation cases reach the trial stage. In the meantime, our defamation lawyers will start the settlement negotiations while the litigation plays out. Most defamation cases get in settlements, but we will take your case to trial if you consider it far apart to agree on a payment.
Dependable and Compassionate Defamation Lawyer
If someone publishes false or defamatory statements about you or your business, the consequences may be severe and permanently affect your reputation. Don’t go through this all by yourself.
At the Mullen Law Firm, our New York defamation attorney will represent you if you have been defamed, whether you are the victim of verbal or written defamation. Our attorneys can fight on your behalf to help identify those responsible for the defamatory statements.
Our law firm is dedicated to combating defamation. If you want to explore your legal options, contact the legal team of Mullen Law Firm today for a free consultation.