How Do You Prove a Defamation of Character Claim?

WrittenJ. Hirbyand Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Defamation of character is a term that is used to describe when false statement is written or spoken about an individual with the intent of harming or slandering their reputation. Unfortunately, defamation of character claims are extremely difficult to be proven in the court of law despite the fact that they are illegal. Any lawyer will tell you that as long as the truth is on your side anything is possible.

What Do You Have To Prove?
There are two things that you have to prove to be true in order to win a case of defamation of character in the court of law. First of all, you have to prove without a doubt that what was said or written about you is not true. Once you have proved that the statement is in fact false, you have to prove that the other person said the false statement with the intent of causing you some form of harm.

Slander and Libel
There are two different types of defamation of character. The first is when someone verbally says a false statement about you. This is referred to as slander. The second is when someone writes down or publishes a false statement about you. This is referred to as libel.

The Final Step
Once you have proven to the court of law that the statement made against you was in fact false the last step is proving that the statement caused some form of damage to you or your reputation. Most lawyers are going to tell you that despite being the last step in the process proving that a statement has caused you harm is the most difficult part of the process. First of all, there is a clear different between a statement having the potential to cause you problems and the statement actually causing you problems. It is only considered defamation of character if the statement has actually caused you harm, not if it has the potential to cause you harm.

In order to win the claim, you are going to need to prove that the false statement has always ruined your reputation. If you are a business owner, for example, you would need to prove how the statement has had a devastating impact on your business. The unfortunate truth is that this does mean you will have to wait for the false statement to cause problems in order for the court to take action against them.

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