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What Do I Have to Prove in a Defamation Claim?

False negative statements that are made about you can affect your reputation. You could lose out on money and employment opportunities and face other damages if false statements are published about you.  The publishing of false statements is referred to as defamation. You can file a civil lawsuit for defamation to recover compensation for losses that you experienced as a result of the untrue statements. newspaper-boxes-1423087

A defamation claim can be a very complicated claim to prove. California litigation lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance in determining if you have a case and in gathering evidence to make your claim. We can represent you in court and help you to make a compelling argument to convince a judge or jury that you should be entitled to damages for defamation. We can also help you to negotiate a settlement out of court.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Defamation Claim?

You may make a defamation claim to recover compensation for damages only if you suffered harm as a result of a false statement. You cannot sue or recover monetary damages for the publication of true statements. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.  In order to make your case and be compensated for defamation, you must prove:

  • A false or untrue statement was made. You can sue for either slander or libel, which means that you are able to make a defamation claim regardless of whether the defamatory statements were made orally or in written form.
  • You suffered injury, loss, or damage as a result of the defamatory statement. The statement must have actually harmed you or adversely affected you in some way.
  • The statement was not privileged. Certain statements are privileged, like those made by a witness in a court case. You cannot sue for privileged statements.

These are the general requirements for what you must prove in a defamation claim. However, if you are a public figure or if the statement was made about a matter of public interest, there is an additional element of a defamation claim that must be proved if you are to recover damages.

Public figures must prove actual malice. Essentially, this means a public figure must show that the false statements were published with reckless disregard for the truth or with knowledge of falsehood. This is referred to as actual malice. The actual malice rule has been in place for public figures since a case called New York Times v. Sullivan in 1964. Since that landmark decision limiting defamation claims for celebrities, it has been harder for public figures to successfully prove a case for defamation.

Getting Legal Help in a Defamation Claim

If you believe that you have a defamation claim, you need to get help from an experienced Irvine defamation lawyer. Defamation cases can be a challenge both because you need to show the statement was false and because you need to demonstrate how exactly it damaged you.  Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has helped many clients to pursue legal action in cases of alleged defamation. Give us a call at 714-505-3000 to schedule a consultation and learn how our experienced legal professionals can assist you with your case.