What Is Slander?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where another person has made a false statement that hurt your reputation or finance? If so, it might have been a case of slander. The victims of slander have the right to file a lawsuit where they seek compensation for any resulting damages.

In general, false statements that most people would consider as harmful are known as defamation. The false statements can have various forms -- they can be verbal, written, pictured, or gestured. However, note that only spoken false statements are considered to be slander. The written or published false statements are known as libel. Both libel and slander are forms of defamation.

How To File a Lawsuit For Slander?

If you or someone you know have been a victim of slander, filing a lawsuit and seeking compensation is worth considering. However, it is important to remember that not every negative comment, statement, or gesture will be considered defamatory. Petty insults that result in no harm are not legally considered slender, so you cannot sue for them.

Furthermore, opinions are not classified as slander either. For example, if a client leaves the hairdresser unsatisfied and thinks that the hair was cut uneven and decides to share the opinion with others, it is not slander. Personal opinions are strictly protected by the First Amendment, which grants freedom of speech and opinion to those residing in the US territory.

Therefore, before going to court, make sure that you are able to prove the following:

  1. the statement was false, defamatory, unprivileged and “published” to a third party,
  2. the statement resulted in harm.

After the plaintiff successfully proves the above elements, the "general damages" are considered by the judge and jury. The damages are not strictly limited to economic losses; slander can lead to mental anguish and other emotional distress, too.  

What Does An “Unprivileged” Statement Mean?

As stated previously, a statement must be unprivileged, among other characteristics, to be considered defamatory.

In general, only statements made during legal proceedings, such as a court hearing, are considered “privileged.” Therefore, witnesses delivering testimony during the trial cannot be sued for slander even if the statements they make are false and damaging.

Although making false statements during legal proceedings can result in criminal perjury charges against the person, they still cannot be sued for defamation of character. Additionally, every state has different regulations regarding the extent of privileged statements. In some states, privilege may extent to testimony delivered in proceedings such as mediation or arbitration.

To summarize, slander is an oral, false and defamatory statement that results in various forms of damage, such as economic losses or mental distress. The victim of slander is entitled to file a lawsuit against the person making the defamatory statement. To receive compensation for any damages or losses resulting from slander, the plaintiff will have to successfully prove that the statement directly led to harm.

If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, or company vehicle, call DeSouza Law today at (210) 910-HURT or (361) 799-2222.