One of the best modern-day creations is the internet, giving everyone access to an abundance of information, tap into any conceivable subject, and self-publish anything in a matter of seconds. Although this can be convenient, like with most things, there’s a downside, and for this, it can lead to legal trouble fast. You can either get sued for libel, slander, or overall defamation.
Defamation is when a person says a statement or implies something that can harm another party’s reputation and is divided into two parts: libel and slander.
Libel is defamation in written form. For instance, when a derogatory remark made towards you in a post on social media resulted in losing your opportunity to franchise a sandwich eatery, that’s libel. Meanwhile, slander is in spoken form, whereas a person lies about you in a video, call, or person.
Either way, it can be intimidating to receive a claim from a solicitor threatening to sue you. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any options left but to give in to their demands. The most important thing you need to do when someone is suing you for libel or slander is to immediately seek legal assistance and consider the following options below.
Before things get out of hand or you go to court, it’s best if you compensate and do what the plaintiff and their solicitor requests, as long as it’s reasonable. These actions typically include writing an apology to the plaintiff, publishing an apology online, or pay money to the plaintiff to compensate for any losses suffered by the defamatory statement. Doing this may save you from going to court—and pay for even more damage.
Ask the Plaintiff for Any Proof of ‘Harm’ or ‘Damage’
The person suing you needs to prove and not merely say that the defamatory imputation you published in written form or said to them resulted in them suffering substantial financial loss or damaged and harmed their wellbeing. Only filing a claim against you doesn’t entitle them to force you to compensate. For instance, if you tell someone’s ‘useless,’ but nobody pays attention, there’s no harm, and they can’t sue you. However, if you say the same thing, but suddenly a bank declines to give them a loan, then they may sue you for that.
Give Proof the Plaintiff Consented to the Statement
For statements to be considered slander or libel, they shouldn’t have the solicitor’s consent. So, if you can find proof that the person suing you consented to whatever you said in an interview, a call, or written form, they can’t sue you.
Prove You Didn’t Say Any Defamatory Statements
For something to be considered defamation, slander, or libel, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was communicated directly. So, if you did write something about someone but didn’t send it to anyone nor publish it anywhere, they can’t take any legal actions against you.
Although it can be intimidating to get a letter from a person saying they’re going to sue you for slander or libel, know your rights and your options to defend yourself against this scenario. Those mentioned are excellent measures that you can take to protect yourself.