No Win No Fee Solicitors for Defamation Cases
Although defamation seems to be a term that is fairly well known, defamation lawsuits are far less common than most people would believe. The reason for this is because it is fairly difficult to prove a defamation case and most attorneys are simply unwilling to take on these types of cases. It is therefore a challenge to find a lawyer that specializes in these types of cases.
However, defamation falls under the umbrella of personal injury law which means that any lawyer specializing in this field of the law can try a defamation case in a court of law.
In order to prove a defamation case, there are two elements that need to be proven:
– A statement was made that is false and
– The false statement must result in some sort of loss.
Proving that a statement is false can be difficult. Simply calling someone a name is not sufficient to prove defamation and that the specific name is false. The statement must specifically degrade or defame a person or business or character of said person or business and be proven to be false.
There are many different types of losses that can be suffered by a person or legal entity (such as a business) as a result of defamation. However, most types of losses must be relatable to a financial loss or compensation. For example, if the defamation resulted in damage to a person’s reputation, it is necessary to prove that this damage resulted in a loss of income, inability to be employed or in the case of a business, the loss of customers or clients.
Collecting and presenting evidence to support the claim of defamation is the next step in proving a defamation case. This evidence needs to prove that the person being accused of defamation did indeed make the slanderous or damaging statement or is in some way liable for a statement causing damage.
Direct evidence is where the defamed person heard the accused making the defamatory statement. Indirect evidence proves that a third party such as the owner of a website is liable for posting defamatory statements even if those statement were not directly made by them.
Physical evidence provides the strongest case for defamation. This is where the false statement was made in writing which can be presented in black and white to the court. It is indisputable that the statement was made and that the accused made the statement.
Witness testimony (as long as it is not hearsay) or recordings of the statement being made by the accused can also be used to support the case.
The following evidence will also need to be provided with regards to the statement that was made:
– The statement was factual but false (not an opinion)
– The statement was publicized (it was heard or read by one or more other people)
– The statement was not privileged
– The statement caused harm and resulted in losses.
Defamation lawsuits also undergo a lengthy discovery process where evidence is exchanged between the two parties attorneys and collected via the processes of interrogatories, depositions, requests for documents pertaining to the case and subpoenas. The discovery process is however integral to proving a case of defamation, as JM Solicitors Dublin explain.
Defamation cases can be settled out of court where the attorneys negotiate an agreement between the two parties that usually involves the payment of compensation by the accused to the plaintiff. This is the preferred route as it saves time and money on discovery and drawn out court proceedings.
If settlement fails, a judge may order mediation or arbitration or the case will be heard and decided by a judge and jury in a court of law.