Your reputation, career, and home life could be in peril when someone spreads false and damaging information about you or your business. However, nobody has the right to ruin your reputation carelessly or maliciously. If you have been the victim of slander and incurred damages as a result, you could sue for defamation.
If you or your business has been affected by slander, our experienced defamation attorneys can be by your side and fight to preserve your good name. You could also receive a settlement for damages such as financial losses and emotional distress. Contact us today to find out for free whether you can sue for slander.
What Qualifies as Slander?
Slander is a type of defamation that occurs when someone makes a false or reckless verbal statement designed to tarnish a third party’s reputation. To have a case, a third party must have been present or overheard the slanderous statement. You would not have a case to sue, for example, if another person made a false statement about you while you were alone with them. While anyone can potentially commit slander, former employees or business competitors are often sources of defamatory statements.
What Is Slander Per Se?
When it comes to collecting compensation for slander, the person bringing the suit (the plaintiff) generally has to prove their damages. However, in the case of “slander per se”, the defamatory statements are considered inherently ruinous to the plaintiff’s reputation. Therefore, a plaintiff generally does not need to prove their damages if they are a victim of slander per se.
Which Statements Qualify for Slander Per Se?
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), the following can constitute slander per se:
- False and detrimental statements relating to the person's business or profession
- False claims that the individual committed a crime of moral turpitude
- Falsely accusing the person of unchastity and sexual misconduct
- Claiming that the individual suffers from a loathsome disease (generally applied to STDs).
If you or your business has been affected by slander or slander per se, consult with a defamation attorney as soon as possible. False, malicious, or misleading statements about you can cause irreversible damage. The sooner you pursue justice and clear your name, the sooner you can move on with your life and career.
The Difference Between Slander and Libel
Slander and libel are two types of defamation. Both refer to the spreading of false information harming the reputation of a business, individual, or group. However, while libel involves the written word, slander refers to verbal defamatory statements.
Libel can occur through various written media such as newspapers, blog posts, social media posts, and other publications. Slander can be committed through any type of verbal communication, whether during a television program, phone call, or in-person. Since libel deals with the written word, it can be easier to prove than slander.
If you are wondering whether you can sue for slander and recover damages, consider that you would generally have to prove the following to have a case:
1. Someone Made a Defamatory Statement to a Third Party
A defamatory statement generally refers to any communication that significantly harms your reputation and deters others from associating or doing business with you.
2. The Statement Is Not Privileged
You would not be able to sue if the statement in question was made under privilege, for example, in the following situations:
- Witnesses testifying in court
- Statements made between clients and their attorneys
- Comments made between spouses
- Legislators discussing the information during debates
3. The Slanderous Statement Is False
To have a case for defamation, the statement made against you must be false, and the defendant acted negligently or maliciously in making the slanderous comments. A true statement, even if it significantly taints your reputation, does not qualify as defamation. Likewise, someone expressing an opinion that could damage your reputation is typically not considered slander.
4. The Statement Is “Published”
In this instance, “published” includes verbal defamatory statements as long as the slanderous statement was communicated to a third person or persons. A conversation between two individuals that others could overhear can potentially also qualify for a slander lawsuit.
5. You Suffered Harm
Unless the damaging statement qualifies as slander per se, you have to show that you were harmed emotionally, financially, or in other ways. Examples of harm caused by slander can include:
- Losing your job
- Suffering shame and humiliation
- Getting harassed by the media
- Failing relationships with family and friends
- Losing business revenue
Do You Have a Case for Slander?
If you are hoping to bring a slander lawsuit, the burden of proof will be on you. Plaintiffs generally have to show that they suffered tangible harm due to another’s deliberate or negligent actions. You have to prove that the defendant intended to harm or had a motive and that you personally or your business suffered damages.
Being a victim of slander can be upsetting. Having to deal with the fallout from a ruined reputation is often an overwhelming task for victims. If you are looking to clear your name, our defamation attorneys can help. In the first instance, we could determine whether you have a case. We can then help you navigate the legal system and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Damages for Slander
If you suffered injury and losses due to a slanderous statement, you could qualify for damages, including but not limited to:
- Lost earnings or lost business opportunities
- Future lost earning capacity
- Costs to find new employment
- Medical bills for mental or physical health treatments
- Lost benefits such as health insurance, vacation time, and pension contributions
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
Monetary losses can be documented, for example, with bank statements, tax returns, and receipts. If you are looking to prove lost business revenue, you might need expert witnesses’ help to assess the financial impact of slander. Proving humiliation and emotional distress can be tricky in slander lawsuits. However, victims can use documentary evidence, third-party reports, and expert witness testimony to prove these types of non-economic damages.
An attorney can assess your damages after another individual attempts to destroy your reputation. Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious slander lawyers can leave no stone unturned in fighting for the compensation you need to rebuild your life after an attempted character assassination.