Posted on: 6 May 2022
If someone has caused harm to your reputation because of false accusations, you may have a defamation suit in the making. Read on to find out more about what goes into such an action and what must be proven in order for you to triumph.
Were You Harmed?
A major facet of defamation cases is that you need to show that you suffered harm. After all, if someone said something that irritated you but essentially did not cause a problem for you, then you suffered no harm. As result, private accusations when it comes to defamation don't count because only you and the accuser know about them. Defamation cases require some element of public awareness regarding the statement. Other forms of harm that may be caused by someone's public utterings include:
- Damage to career prospects
- Damage to personal relationships
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Harassment online or in person
Defamation Per Se
In certain instances, plaintiffs may not have to do much to prove that they were harmed due to the nature of the accusation. For instance, a public figure being falsely accused of being a child molester is obviously harmful to a reputation. The plaintiff may only need to show that the statement was publically made and that it was false in nature.
Was It Untrue?
Another important factor in defamation is truthfulness. If what the person said was true, it's not defamation no matter how much harm it caused the alleged victim. That is why defendants must show that the allegation they made was true. For example, that the person really did steal money at their last job or that the person was cheating on their husband. This sort of thing can naturally be embarrassing for both parties when it comes to a trial. However, many defamation suits are settled out of court for that reason.
Was It on Purpose?
Most of the time, cases in which you were accidentally accused of something won't meet the standards for a defamation case. For instance, if you were identified as a suspect in a crime because you looked a lot like the actual suspect, that is a case of accidental false accusations. No one was purposefully trying to accuse you of a crime just to cause you harm and that is the difference.
If you are unsure about a false accusation made against you, speak to a personal injury lawyer to learn more.Share