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Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Suing for Reputation Ruin?

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Suing for Reputation Ruin?

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Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Suing for Reputation Ruin?

Having to deal with rumors or false accusations can be extremely frustrating. The lies can negatively impact your personal and professional life. When someone spreads a lie that damages your reputation, does suing for reputation ruin makes sense? The answer is yes, especially if the rumors have cost you a job and/or marriage. No one has the right to spread lies about you, which means if you are the recipient of defamatory remarks, working with an experienced defamation of character attorney can stop the malicious rumors, as well as award you monetary damages.

For more than 30 years, the highly-rated law firm of Morgan & Moran has helped clients recover from the personal and professional losses caused by defamatory comments. We provide legal support for victims of defamatory statements located all over the United States. Our team of lawyers has recovered more than $13 billion in compensation, some of which have resulted from favorable settlements and legal judgments concerning defamation of character lawsuits. 

If you are a victim of malicious statements, act with a sense of urgency by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the defamation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan

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FAQ

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  • What Does Defamation of Character Mean?

    The process of suing for reputation ruin starts by understanding the legal meaning of defamation of character. A false statement spread by another party about you in written or verbal form is considered defamation. Libel and slander represent the two types of defamation.

    Libel refers to making false statements in written form, such as in newspapers, online articles, and social media channels. Slander describes an act of defamation that is made verbally. For example, starting a vicious rumor about a co-worker might be considered slander. The act of slandering someone can come from just about anyone. However, the illegal act of slander occurs most often by former employees, business competitors, and vindictive acquaintances.

    Building a positive reputation personally and professionally takes years to develop. One false statement that impugns your character can destroy the years of hard work you have done to build a positive reputation. If another party purposely destroyed your character by making false, malicious statements, you might have a strong enough case of suing for reputation ruin.

  • How Do I Determine Whether I Have a Case for a Ruined Reputation?

    Defamation of character lawsuits can be difficult to litigate, especially when a case involves slander. To file a civil lawsuit for defamation of character, you must meet four legal criteria.

    False Statement

    The first criterion involves proving another party issued a false statement. Not every offensive remark qualifies as a false statement. If someone made a negative statement about you, your family, or your career, but the statement is true, the offensive statement does not qualify as defamation of character. You also cannot consider suing for reputation ruin if another party offered an opinion and not a statement of fact.

    A detailed investigation conducted by one of our state-licensed defamation lawyers reveals the intent of someone who made a false statement.

    False Statement Shared With Another Party

    Someone can make false statements about you all day and not have committed an act of defamation. This is because a third party must hear and/or read a false statement for it to qualify as defamation of character. For libel, proving a third party read a false statement made about you is relatively easy to do. For example, you are the recipient of a libelous statement that appeared in a local newspaper. For slander, proving that someone verbally defamed you depends on the word of the party that heard the alleged false statement.

    False Statement Must Be Injurious

    A false statement has to do much more than hurt your feelings. It must ruin your reputation personally and/or professionally. An example of an injurious statement costs you a job or business revenue. If you suffer from emotional distress, one of the defamation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan will argue a false statement made about you was injurious. Finally, a false statement that damages personal and/or professional relationships might be considered injurious as well.

    One important note to remember: some conversations like the ones between clients and lawyers are considered privileged statements. If a party makes a false, injurious statement during a privileged conversation, the statement does not give you legal grounds for filing a defamation of character lawsuit.

  • What Is the Process of Suing for Reputation Ruin?

    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

    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.

  • What Is Defamation of Character for an Employment Relationship?

    Suing for reputation ruin can unfold because of a libelous and/or slanderous statement made by your manager or any of your co-workers. An injurious statement made in an employment context can negatively influence your future earning power by making it difficult for you to find a job or preventing you to earn income that is commensurate with your professional skills and experience.

    Defamation and Professional References

    Just one false, injurious comment made by a current or former manager for a professional reference can prevent you from getting your dream job. A current or former employer cannot make hurtful statements that damage your career. For example, your employer is guilty of defamation by falsely claiming you completed poorly executed projects when in fact you excelled in completing work-related projects. Any statement made by a professional colleague that disregards the truth might qualify as a defamatory statement.

    Defamation and Employment Reviews

    Every six months or once a year, you sit down with your manager to discuss your performance, as well as to plan the next several months of job responsibilities. A defamatory statement made by your manager does not have to happen during an employment review. Instead, one or more defamatory statements might be found in the document that describes the results of your employment review. False, injurious statements made on an employment review document can prevent you from getting the raise and/or promotion you deserve.

  • Does Suing for Reputation Include an Injurious Statement Made to Me?

    Defamation law does not define the illegal act as something that transpires between you and another party. Typically, a third party has to read and/or hear a false, injurious statement for the statement to qualify as defamatory. However, your defamation lawyer might decide to pursue legal action for defamation if another party made a false, injurious statement in front of you and another person. The other person might be defined as a third party.

    Let’s assume you attend a business dinner that includes a speech made by your boss. During the speech, your boss makes a defaming statement that destroys your reputation. Although you directly heard the statement, so did several of your professional colleagues. You have multiple third parties that might make you eligible for the process of suing for reputation ruin.

  • Learn About Suing for Reputation Ruin

    The financial implications of a ruined reputation can haunt you for the rest of your life. If you suffered personal and/or professional losses because of one or more defamatory comments, you have the right to seek justice by filing a civil lawsuit. Defamation cases can last longer than the average civil case, as well as introduce unique and complex legal issues that make it difficult to win a favorable judgment.

    Working with one of the accomplished defamation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help you restore your reputation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay upfront legal fees. Your defamation lawyer gets paid when you get paid.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to learn more about the process of suing for reputation ruin.

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