The success of a business rises or falls on its reputation. Delivering superlative service and building a solid brand is the best way to ensure a loyal customer base and drive sales. Unfortunately, the hard work that goes into building your company’s name can be easily sabotaged by defamation.

Defamation is an untrue factual statement made to a third party that causes injury or damage to the subject of the statement.  The legal term for a defamatory statement that’s been spoken is slander, while the term for a written defamatory statement is libel. Though it’s important to distinguish between libel and slander when filing a claim, what is even more important is being able to prove that the statement that was made was untrue and that the individual or entity making the statement was aware of that.

In filing a defamation claim, an attorney will need to identify whether the statement was made orally or in writing. Oral statements are slander, and the range of people to whom slanderous statements can be made go from a one-on-one conversation to a podcast to a national broadcast.  By contrast, libelous statements must be printed in a newspaper or magazine, though comments or statements posted online also count. Both can do significant damage, and there is also a separate defamation category specifically for business known as trade libel, in which a false or damaging statement is made either via print or orally about a company’s goods or services.

When pursuing a defamation claim, your attorney will need to know where and how the defamatory statement was made, as well as the type and extent of the harm that it caused. Damages can include lost earnings or future lost earning potential, lost business opportunities, medical bills for stress-related treatment, and non-economic damages including humiliation, anxiety, or emotional distress. Particularly egregious instances of defamation may also be subject to punitive damages, which are intended to send a lesson to others not to pursue the same type of behavior, and to stop the original perpetrator from repeating their damaging statements or written words.

If you have been the victim of malicious or damaging statements or publications that have impacted your business’ reputation, our experienced attorneys can help. Contact us today to set up a time for us to meet and discuss your situation.