When you meet with one of the defamation lawyers at Morgan & Morgan, the first step in the process of suing for reputation ruin involves determining whether you have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit. If your defamation of character attorney determines that you have a strong enough case, you follow the remaining steps that define the process of suing for reputation ruin.
Calculate Monetary Damages
Your legal counsel calculates a reasonable value for monetary damages. Special compensatory damages refer to tangible expenses, such as lost wages and medical bills. As a victim of defamation, you might sustain some healthcare issues such as the development of high blood pressure and frequent debilitating migraine headaches.
General compensatory damages cover issues such as emotional distress and loss of consortium. False, injurious statements can adversely impact the health of a marriage. Defamation also can cause you acute anxiety that might develop into a case of depression. Your defamation attorney calculates general compensatory damages by using a formula that is based on the value of special compensatory damages.
A judge hearing a defamation lawsuit has the legal power to award the plaintiff punitive damages. This type of compensation penalizes the defendant for making misleading statements that have damaged your personal and/or professional reputations. Judges award punitive damages for defamation cases that involve particularly hurtful comments.
Collect and Organize Evidence
During an investigation for a defamation case, your legal counsel collects and organizes evidence to present to the other party’s attorney, and if the case goes to trial, to the judge hearing your civil lawsuit. Gathering evidence for libel is a straightforward process. Your defamation attorney presents the libelous statements made in print and/or online. Collecting evidence to prove slander requires your lawyer to interview witnesses that heard the false, injurious statements made about you.
File a Civil Lawsuit
Suing for reputation ruin starts when your attorney files all the documents required by a civil court to initiate legal action. The defendant receives a notice concerning the civil lawsuit and has a limited amount of time to file a response. Filing a civil lawsuit does not automatically means your case goes to the trial phase of the legal process. Both sides have several opportunities to negotiate a settlement.
Each state has established a deadline for the filing of a defamation lawsuit. Working with an experienced attorney ensures you file a civil lawsuit before the expirations of the statute of limitations.
Negotiations to reach a settlement can happen at any time during a civil lawsuit. The most common time to negotiate a settlement is during the discovery phase of the legal process. During discovery, both parties exchange evidence and the statements made by witnesses. If both lawyers determine a settlement is the logical legal maneuver to make, you avoid a costly and time-consuming trial. Negotiations begin with an offer made by your legal counsel, followed by a series of counteroffers.