What you need to know about defamation lawsuits
If you or your business have been on the receiving end of slanderous statements from other individuals, has it affected your standing in the local community? The bad news is that being caught in such a situation can be a nightmare. The good news is that Tate Law Group is on your side. If the information being spread about you is false, you may have a case for defamation.
The Details of the Defamation: What are the Legal Standards?
The state of Georgia has certain requirements for cases involving defamatory statements. These include:
- A false statement — slander — is being made about the plaintiff.
- The statement being communicated to a third party without the privilege to do so.
- The defendant being deemed negligent in making this statement.
- Harm being done to the plaintiff as a result of this statement or the statement itself being deemed as Defamation Per Se.
Defamation Per Se is a legal term that covers certain defamatory statements. In layman’s terms, these are statements that are considered automatically damaging. Examples include statements that accuse the plaintiff of committing a crime they did not commit, having a contagious health problem, or doing anything that might harm their reputation to the point they are unfairly scorned by members of their community.
If any of these are relevant to you, you may have been defamed. You should contact a local, trusted lawyer immediately to analyze your case.
Making a Case: Gathering Evidence to Prove You’ve Been Wronged
The reason that more of these cases don’t move forward is that they are difficult to prove. Unless you have evidence of the person making slanderous claims against you, then it is your word against theirs. If you can gather witnesses who will reinforce your case by making statements regarding what was said about you, the chances of your success will be much greater.
There is also the issue of proving harm. It’s natural to be angry when someone says something false or malicious but to move forward with a case, you’ll need to prove that certain legal standards for harm have been met. These include severe damage to your public image or reputation, major financial harm to your business, or serious mental and emotional anguish caused by the defamatory statement itself or any of the consequences that resulted from it.
If you do have any evidence of the slanderous statements, be sure to keep it organized. If lies are being spread about you on social media, take screenshots of the accounts where the statements are being made. If these posts are deleted later, you’ll still have your evidence. If statements are being made over the phone, radio, television or in conversation, gather a recording of the statements or gather significant witnesses to support you.
Moving Forward: Working with a Savannah Georgia Law Firm
Once you’re confident that you may have a case, your next step is to contact an attorney. It’s important to work with a local attorney with plenty of experience working on similar cases. Seek out someone who has taken cases to trial if possible. You might be able to settle the case, but if the opposing legal team thinks it’s better to go to trial, you’ll need an experienced lawyer in your corner.
Your lawyer will likely begin by sending a letter asking that the person defaming you cease and desist. This first step allows the person to rethink their actions and take back the statements they may have made, either by removing damaging claims or making a public statement indicating that they lied in their statements. If the defamer refuses to agree to this, then your case will continue toward trial.
If you’re ready to move forward with your case, please contact Tate Law Group, a premiere Savannah Georgia Law Firm.