Although everyone has the constitutional rights for freedom of speech. In some cases, statements made can damage or harm the reputation of a business or an individual. In such cases, the individual or the business owner can file a defamation suit against the offender.
However, there are certain conditions in which the statements will be considered as defamation. You can know more about defamation and its types online.
It does not matter whether someone defames your reputation or you are accused of defamation, you will need a lawyer on your side. Here we will learn how a defamation suit works from legal experts.
How Defamation Suits Work
Before you know how defamation works, it’s essential to understand what it is and what are its elements.
Defamation and Its Elements
Defamation is a false statement about a person or an organization made by an individual or group. Consequently, the statement harms the name or reputation of the person or business. If this is the case, the sufferer can file a defamation lawsuit against the offending party.
The statement can be verbal or written, but the intent was to defame the other party. If the statement is verbal, it’s called slander and the written statement is known as libel. If a party makes such malicious statement about another party, the suffering party must prove these four elements:
- A false statement was made about someone or an organization.
- It was made by a third-party.
- The intent behind the statement was to harm or damage the name or reputation.
- The party about whom the statement was made suffered damage from the statement.
The plaintiff (individual who was the subject of the false statement) should prove these four elements for a successful defamation suit. Let us see what are the step by step procedures to file a defamation lawsuit.
Steps for Filing A Defamation Lawsuit
First of all, it’s crucial to consult a lawyer as they have the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you the right direction. Before filing a lawsuit the plaintiff must have a copy of the statement online or written containing all the elements of defamation. Additionally, other supporting documents like bank transactions showing the financial loss due to the defamation.
- File a Complaint
A defamation complaint can be filed after the verification of all the documents by an attorney and initial investigation is finished. It may take some time, so the plaintiff needs to be patient throughout the process.
After the lawsuit is filed,the defendant is served to write in response. Then the formal investigation is undertaken by both parties through a series of questions.
It is the process of interview of the witness and deposition of evidence in relation to the lawsuit. Here some people other than the witness may also also be questioned.
Once the deposition process is completed the attorney advises the plaintiff whether to settle outside the court or go for a trial. But the decision is completely on the client whether the case should be settled out or go for a trial to the court. However, it’s better to follow the advice of the attorney as they have experience to deal with such cases.
Anyway, before filing a lawsuit, it’s also important to know the conditions in which the statement is not considered as defamation.
- Statement is true and made on the public or national interest.
- It’s a public opinion.
- Any kind of court proceedings or trial by the court.
Remember, when you face a situation where someone or a group damages your reputation, consult a legal expert before you file a lawsuit. The legal professional will help you understand your situation in a better way.
Hopefully, the above information has given you an insight into defamation lawsuits and how it is made. Due to the popularity of social media, defamation can cause more danger or harm to an individual or business reputation. If you have any queries, please ask in the comment section.