The old saying about “sticks and stones” may represent a powerful lesson for children, but when it comes to our reputations as adults or as business entities, it leaves a lot to be desired. The truth is that being called a name or being lied about absolutely can hurt. It can harm a reputation to a tremendous degree and cause people to suffer all types of harm, including being fired or missing out on getting a job or loss of revenue. From a legal standpoint publicly telling or publishing a lie about somebody without having any kind of privilege protecting what you say is known as defamation, and when it causes damages it can result in the person who has been defamed suing for slander or libel. Slander and libel represent two different types of defamation: slander occurs when oral defamatory statements are made, while libel is written defamation. In both cases, if you have been a victim of defamation you should immediately contact a Philadelphia slander attorney for help in protecting you from further statements and to see whether you are entitled to file a claim. Suing for slander is not always possible, but when the statements are not protected and damage has been done, it may be possible. The slander attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz will review your situation and tell you what actions are most appropriate.
In order to prove that slander or libel has taken place, it is essential that certain things can be proven. These include:
- That the defendant actually either uttered the false and defamatory statement or published it. There is no requirement that the defamation reached a large audience – having just one person other than the party who has been spoken or written about is enough to qualify as defamation.
- There must be proof that the defamatory statement was specifically about the person who is suing for slander. This does not mean that the plaintiff’s name had to be spelled out or explicitly stated … it can be clear that the plaintiff is the object of the statement without them having been named. However, that clarity must exist.
- There must be proof that the defamatory statement actually caused harm. Having one’s feelings hurt does not count as defamation. The plaintiff has to be able to show that the defamation resulted in attitudes about them being shifted and that they have suffered a loss of esteem by their peers. Likewise a loss of business, employment or trade as a result of the statement can clearly show damages.
- There must be proof that the defendant acted negligently or maliciously in making the statement.
- If the statement involves a public figure, it must be able to be proven false.
- The statement must have been made without the defendant having a special privilege that allowed them to say what they did.
If you believe that you have been defamed and have suffered damages as a result, suing for slander may be your best way of seeking redress. The attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz can help you determine whether a slander claim is appropriate and to diligently represent you in your case. Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.
Learn more about Suing For Slander HERE.