Suing Someone for False Accusations
Suing Someone for False Accusations
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Suing Someone for False Accusations
Have you been falsely accused of committing a crime? The shock of such an accusation is indescribable, but it can be terrifying and heartbreaking, to say the least.
A false accusation isn’t just scary. It can destroy your entire life, haunting you for years or even decades. In the worst circumstances, a false accusation could put you in jail or take your life. And it feels like there is nothing you can do about it when it happens.
The last part couldn’t be further from the truth. You have the right to defend your reputation in court after a false accusation. The harm caused by that false accusation is real, and you can recover damages by suing someone for false accusations.
While you may be suffering under a cloud of suspicion due to false accusations, at least one law firm has your back. The defamation of character attorneys at the law firm of Morgan & Morgan will help you sue someone for false accusations. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation as soon as possible.
Consequences of a False Accusation
It isn’t hyperbole to state that a false accusation can destroy your life. A false accusation at work could cost your job and prevent you from getting one in the future. A false accusation of infidelity could cost your marriage. And a false accusation of committing a crime could end up with you spending years in jail for something you didn’t do.
Worst of all, even if you manage to avoid the worst consequences of a false accusation, the damage to your reputation is almost impossible to repair.
Some people become aware of the false accusation, believe it to be true, and then never hear the truth. You can permanently lose friends, family, and opportunities due to a false accusation even if you prove that it was false.
Because you suffer these consequences despite the accusation being false, your accuser should also suffer consequences. Suing someone for false accusations is one of the most effective ways to make sure the accuser suffers for making the false accusations.
Even if you can’t fully restore your lost reputation, you can get enough money to help make up for the damages you suffered. That money will help pay for the lost wages, opportunities, and other losses you suffered from the false accusation.
A defamation of character lawyer can’t help you restore lost friendships or broken marriages. And for that, we are sorry. But we can get you the resources you need to return to a more normal life.
Civil vs. Criminal
A false accusation is always a civil infraction. But in some cases, it can also be a criminal act as well. Whether it is a criminal act depends on the circumstances and behavior of the accuser.
If the accuser falsely accuses you of a crime to government authorities (like the police), they have engaged in a criminal act. It is illegal to knowingly falsely accuse someone of a crime to the authorities. The punishment for this crime differs in every state, but it is often a low-level felony.
The most heinous example of this is the act commonly referred to as “swatting.” This is when someone falsely accuses someone else of currently committing a crime that threatens another party.
The purpose of this is to get the police to immediately arrest the individual, potentially using deadly force to do so. Swatting can result in the death of the person falsely accused if circumstances play out poorly.
If your accuser has committed a crime, the criminal justice system will take the lead on your case. You will likely have to file a complaint, but other than acting as a witness in a trial, you won’t need to do much for the perpetrator to be punished.
However, regardless of whether a false accusation is a crime, you also have the right to file a lawsuit for that behavior. Suing someone for false accusations requires you to hire defamation of character attorneys, like the ones at Morgan and Morgan.
Once you hire us, we can handle most of the legal process, but we can’t do anything for you until you retain our services.
What to Expect From a False Accusation Lawsuit
As soon as you hire an attorney, you should expect your lawyer to immediately take steps to protect your rights and recover damages for you.
Right from the start, your attorney will advise you on what details of your case you can safely share and who you can speak with. Follow this advice carefully because it could cost you money if you don’t.
Then, your attorney will collect evidence for your case. Your attorney is looking for:
- Witnesses to the false accusation
- Proof that you didn’t commit the act you were accused of
- Proof that the accuser knew you didn’t commit the act
- Records that reveal what losses you suffered from the accusation
- Anything that shows how much the accusations spread
- Evidence that people believed the accusations and acted upon that belief
With that evidence in hand, your attorney can take action. Usually, your lawyer will start by sending a demand letter. This letter informs the accuser that you have proof of their malicious action and requires them to cease spreading the false accusation and recant publicly.
The main goal of this letter is to prevent further damage, though it also acts as notice for the accuser that you intend to sue if they don’t agree to your demands.
Next, your lawyer will probably try to negotiate a settlement. If the false statements are retracted quickly, the damage should be minimized.
At that point, it is usually best to agree to a swift settlement that gets you fair compensation for the harm (both past and future) suffered from the accusation. This quick resolution should end your stress and let you move on with your life.
The worst-case scenario is one where you need to go to trial. If the evidence is strongly in your favor, you should expect to win at trial, but success is never guaranteed.
Even worse, trials take a long time and bring a lot of publicity to the accusations. You might get awarded a lot more money for winning the trial than you would from a settlement, but the accusations are more likely to hang over you for the rest of your life if you need to go to trial.
This won’t stop your attorney from going to trial if that is the only option. Winning a trial is preferable to backing off and letting the false accusations go uncontested.
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What Can You Get by Suing Someone for False Accusations?
You will primarily receive money when you sue someone for false accusations. Juries and judges have significant authority to award monetary damages, which should cover all of your losses and expected future losses, as well as the pain you suffered.
A judge might also require the accuser to publicly recant their statement, but that may not be necessary since the result of the trial is proof the accusations were false.
Can You Sue Other People That Shared the False Accusation?
When you sue someone for a false accusation, you sue under the slander or libel laws of the state. Those laws generally require a person knowingly making a false statement to be liable for slander or libel.
If others believe the false statement and share it, they are not knowingly sharing a false statement. In some cases, they are negligently sharing something false, but that is rare.
Does the False Accusation Have to Be Made Verbally?
Regardless of how the false accusation is communicated, you can sue a person who made a false accusation. Common ways that people make false accusations are:
- Telling others privately
- Posting to social media
- Informing the police
It doesn’t matter whether your accuser stood on top of a building and made false accusations through a bullhorn or published them on page one of the local newspaper. Either way, you have the right to receive damages for the harm you suffered.
The only difference is whether your attorney files a libel or slander lawsuit (or both) against your accuser.
What Should You Do If Someone Physically Assaults You Because of a False Accusation?
The first thing you should do is call the police. Even if the accusation wasn’t false, nobody has the right to assault you. Your assaulter should be held responsible by the criminal justice system.
Additionally, you should hire the services of a Morgan & Morgan attorney and sue the person who made the false accusation. The injuries you suffered are directly attributable to the false accusation, and you can get awarded damages for those injuries.
If the person who made the false accusation intended for you to get attacked, they might also be subject to criminal penalties as well.
How Do You Prove an Accusation Is False?
This is one of the biggest reasons that a false accusation is so damaging. If the police charge you with a crime, the onus is on the state to prove that you are guilty. In court, you don’t need to prove you are innocent. You just need to prove you reasonably might not be guilty; that is all it takes to avoid punishment.
However, in a defamation of character case, you need to prove that the accusation was false and that the accuser knew it. That is a much higher standard of proof.
Usually, you will need to provide evidence that you couldn’t possibly have done what the person claimed. This may require that you reveal a lot about your personal life, which could harm you almost as much as the accusation.
Can You Sue Facebook If Someone Falsely Accuses You on Facebook?
As a rule, social media platforms are not liable for what others post. If you can prove that Facebook refused to intervene even after you proved that a false post was defamatory, Facebook might be liable. But in general, you can’t sue a social media company for the post of another.
Get Help Suing Someone for False Accusations
If you have been falsely accused of a crime or some other inappropriate act, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Contact the defamation of character attorneys at Morgan and Morgan to get a free case evaluation today.