Noblesville Defamation Lawyer
A person’s reputation is important and when that reputation is harmed through false statements in the public square, there may be the possibility of a legal remedy. A Noblesville defamation lawyer from our office can advise clients on whether or not what happened to them rises to the level of being defamatory and how to proceed with a potential lawsuit.
Dollard Evans Whalin fights for the good names of clients throughout the state of Indiana. Call our Noblesville office at (317) 854-5877 or contact us online for sound legal advice and advocacy.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation is defined as something that is said or written about another person and harms their reputation by lowering the esteem in which that person might be held by the community.
There are two different types of defamatory statements. Something in written form is considered libel. Words that are spoken verbally are slander. The means of proving what was said will be different in both cases. Slander would require some type of recording or witnesses to the spoken words. Libel simply requires showing a court what was written. But the authenticity of the negative comments is established, both libel and slander fall under the same defamation laws.
How To Prove Defamation
There are six basic elements that a Noblesville defamation lawyer must show the court in order to win a civil lawsuit:
- The statement must have been made. As obvious as it may sound, this fact still has to be proven, as noted above.
- The statement must be intended for the public. If someone uses their personal journal to unload, they aren’t guilty of defamation. Saying negative things in a therapist’s office or anywhere else with an expectation of privacy is not defamation. The defamatory statement must have been done in a way that makes it clear the author or speaker intended for others in the community to read or hear it.
- The person must have been identified. Let’s say that defamatory statements are made about a generic “someone” in a public square. To be defamatory by the standards of the law, the victim must be identified–either directly by name, or indirectly, by references and descriptions that would be easily interpreted by the relevant audience.
- The person’s reputation suffered as a result. Indiana law identified four specific charges that are considered sufficient to lower one’s reputation. Words that impute criminal conduct, a “loathsome disease”, professional misconduct or sexual misconduct can be considered defamatory.
- The information given is false. Now we’re getting into areas that an attorney and their client will need to do some work on. It’s one thing for a defamed person to know that the charges made against them were false. It’s another to prove it in court. Particularly given that proving one didn’t do something is often less concrete than proving that they did.
- The person making the statement was negligent. If a person making a false statement exercised a reasonable duty of care–perhaps seeking out corroborating sources to confirm something they believed to be true–that can be a defense against defamation. But if false statements were carelessly believed and propagated, the defamed person may have legal recourse.
Winning a defamation suit requires persistent legal work, determined advocacy, and clear communication. That’s what we pride ourselves on at Dollard Evans Whalin. From our Noblesville office, we serve clients throughout Indiana.
A public plaintiff–someone who is in the public eye or has a direct influence on public policy–will need to get one step further and demonstrate that malicious intent was also involved. For private plaintiffs, the motives of the speaker or writer do not matter.
The attorneys at Dollard Evans Whalin know well the value of a reputation and they’ll fight hard for anyone who has been defamed. Call the office today at (317) 854-5877 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
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