A defamation case is filed when a person believes that they have been harmed as a result of libelous or slanderous statements made against them.  Though every case that a defamation attorney prepares is done with the idea of being presented to a jury, defamation case participants often wish to avoid a trial and the expense or negative publicity that is involved. The lawsuits are often resolved in settlement agreements. The damages that are awarded in a defamation case can vary greatly and fall under different categories, but certain aspects are highly predictable. The different types of damages are:


  • Special (economic) damages
  • Non-economic damages


Special damages are actually the most predictable in a defamation case. The include losses such as lost earnings, future lost earning capacity, and lost business or economic opportunities that can be attributed to the libelous or defamatory statements that have been made.  A plaintiff in a defamation case will need to provide information about current clients that they have lost as well as how many future clients they could reasonably have expected to gain prior to the comments being made.  Damages can also be awarded based on whether a person Is able to find a new job if they have lost their job as a result of the statements, or whether they are able to get their old job back.


Damages can also be assessed if any kind of medical damage or psychological damage that necessitated treatment resulted from the statements being made. If this occurred then the bills can be submitted and should be recoverable. Likewise, lost earnings, including benefits such as health insurance, pensions, vacation time or 401K contributions can be included in damages.


In addition to these straightforward damages, which are easily calculated, plaintiffs in a defamation settlement can be entitled to damages that are considered non-economic. These fall under the category that is popularly known as pain and suffering and which are commonly cited in personal injury cases. Pain and suffering is a broad category that can encompass far more than simple mental pain and suffering. It can include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and anxiety, and can be proven by citing symptoms such as sudden or severe anger, loss of appetite or energy, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances and mood swings.  These symptoms are all characterized as being a result of the damage that the victim has suffered to their reputation among their customers or peers, as well as of their standing in the community of which they are a part. The degree of damage that has been done often has a big impact on the size of the settlement.


Negotiating a defamation settlement can be a complex process, as calculating lost earnings capacity or lost business opportunities can be difficult. If you are considering filing a lawsuit for defamation, or are being sued for libel or slander, contact the Philadelphia law offices of Bochetto & Lentz. We have extensive knowledge and successful experience in defamation law, and we can help you get the best possible outcome.


Learn more about your Defamation Settlement Agreement here – https://www.bochettoandlentz.com/practice-areas/libel-slander-and-defamation/