What damages are available for libel or slander?

UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023Fact Checked

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Jeffrey Johnson

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023

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UPDATED: Jul 17, 2023Fact Checked

If you have been defamed, you may seek both actual damages to recover from the economic harm that you have suffered, and punitive damages to punish the person who made the remark and also to serve as an example to deter others.

If the defamation improperly accused you of a crime or reflected poorly on your profession, the court or jury may award damages. For other types of defamation, you must prove monetary losses to be able to recover. Consult an experienced libel and slander attorney to evaluate your claim and advise you on whether a lawsuit is worthwhile.

Case Studies: Damages for Libel and Slander

Case Study 1: The False Accusation

Sarah, a prominent businesswoman, was falsely accused of embezzlement by a rival in the industry. The accusation caused significant damage to Sarah’s professional reputation and resulted in the loss of several lucrative contracts.

Sarah sought legal recourse and filed a defamation lawsuit against the person who made the false accusation. The court awarded Sarah substantial actual damages to compensate for the economic harm she suffered due to the defamation.

Case Study 2: Defamation and Professional Consequences

John, a respected doctor, became the target of a defamatory online campaign orchestrated by a disgruntled former patient. The false statements circulated on social media platforms, damaging John’s reputation and causing patients to lose trust in his medical practice.

Despite the absence of direct financial losses, John pursued a lawsuit for libel and slander. The court recognized the impact on John’s professional standing and awarded him substantial damages to compensate for the harm caused.

Case Study 3: Harm to Business Reputation

A popular restaurant franchise was subjected to a defamatory review by a rival business owner. The false review accused the restaurant of health code violations and unsanitary practices. As a result, the restaurant experienced a significant decline in customers, leading to substantial financial losses.

The restaurant owner decided to take legal action against the rival business owner for defamation. The court recognized the financial impact on the restaurant and awarded both actual and punitive damages to compensate for the harm caused and to serve as a deterrent to others.

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

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