Deciding to pursue a defamation suit is a big decision, and not to be taken lightly. But where do you start? How do you know if you’re eligible for a defamation suit? What’s the average cost of a defamation case and how long will it last?
So let’s start at the very beginning…
What is Defamation?
Defamation is the action of ruining or damaging someone’s reputation. Words you may have heard in connection with ‘defamation’ are ‘slander’ and ‘libel’. All of these words essentially refer to the action of making false statements about someone, verbally or in writing, which effectively tarnish their reputation and in some cases, ruin or negatively affect their livelihood.
Defamation can also take place on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The number of social media defamation cases have increased significantly over the last few years.
Am I Eligible For a Defamation Law Suit?
If you have proof that you are the subject of communication spreading false information that has tarnished your reputation, you may well be eligible for a defamation suit. This could be an individual spreading false information or a media outlet knowingly or negligently publishing incorrect information that negatively affects your social or professional standing.
To be eligible to sue for defamation, you must file the suit within 12 months of when the defamatory information was published or shared. The information must:
- have been communicated to a third party
- have been defamatory
- be about the plaintiff
- have been published without any lawful reason
You can download our full defamation checklist to help you understand whether you have a case.
How Do I Get Started?
Pursuing a defamation case by yourself could pose some significant risks. Seeking professional advice and representation will save time and money. It will also ensure that you don’t make some avoidable errors which could ended up being costly.
Not using legal representation could result in a lengthy process drawn out in court which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Lawyers will usually negotiate to settle out of court which will save you time, money and potentially the embarrassment of drawing more attention to the defamatory content.
If you feel your reputation is important enough to defend by law, it is certainly worth investing in professional lawyers to defend it on your behalf.