Slander occurs when a lie is spoken about you from one person or group to another person or group, and the untruth that is spoken harms your reputation and causes personal or financial damages.
Elements Of Slander
There are a few elements of slander that make it illegal. The first element occurs when a lie is spoken about another person. The second element is based on the harm and damage that is caused to the reputation of the person being slandered. The third element states that the damages must have already occurred for slander to be present.
He Said She Said
Slander is more difficult to prove than libel. Libel deals with a written lie, which is often physical — it can be copied or a screenshot can be taken. All you have to do is use some free software or a “print screen” command on your computer or smartphone to gather evidence. You just can’t do that with slander. If a lie is spoken about somebody and no one is there to hear it, it is almost impossible to prove.
If you are ever slandered by another individual or group, experts recommend walking away from that situation and taking a break that lasts for a short period of time — enough to cool off and think about the incident. You don’t want to immediately run to the authorities and start accusing someone of slander. You would get nowhere as the third element has not been completed.
Break Apart The Statement
Once you’ve thought about the situation and incident, you can write down what was said. Take out some paper or an app that lets you record your thoughts. With a clear mind, break apart the statement and look at all of the words and how they were used. Can you specify why the statement was a lie? Is there an underlying meaning that displays an incorrect truth about your reputation? When you’re dealing with slander, the statement must be malicious. It must be heinous enough to damage your reputation.
Using An Attorney
After you’ve compiled your thoughts, you will need to have a lawyer address the situation. He or she has the ability to write a cease-and-desist letter that asks the person stating the slander to stop their actions. The person causing the slander will be asked to retract the statement and give an apology within a specific timeframe such as 24 hours. If an apology is not given, the situation will be monitored.
Damages To A Person Who Is Slandered
To win a case where slander has occurred, an individual must show that they have had actual damages occur to the reputation. This has to be shown by providing evidence such as financial statements or notes from a doctor. Typically, a situation will not escalate to this point before a retraction and apology is made.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!