Has defamation in the media ruined your public reputation? Do you think it might negatively impact your career? Filing a defamation case might be your solution. But you need to follow a few steps to file a defamation case.
However, first, we need to be clear about what defamation is and what can be the possible repercussions once you face it. Let’s check them out.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation refers to attacking a person’s reputation by spreading false information. It can include spoken statements, written material, or even pictures. Accusing someone of a baseless crime is also a form of defamation. Defamation cases are resolved in court by civil law without the involvement of the police. Someone accused of defamation is required to pay a fine. They don’t go to prison, and no criminal case is registered against them.
The charges are not fixed and depend on the circumstance of the case. In Australia, the costs range from a nominal amount to billions of dollars. The charge is higher if the defamed person faces any personal hardships or monetary loss. But the court proceedings cost a significant amount. Therefore, a defamation case should be lodged after careful consideration.
Social media defamation is common nowadays. It is important to remember the fact that social media enables the further spread of defamatory comments. Australia’s first online defamation case was lodged by a teacher against a former student. The student ended up paying more than $100,000 because of defamatory posts on Twitter. Consider yourself a newspaper editor while posting on social media. This will help you avoid posting things that might be defamatory.
Things To Remember While Lodging A Defamation Case
You should consider the following pointers if you want to file a defamation case.
- Check If You Are Eligible
The first thing to ensure before filing a defamation case is to find out whether you are eligible. If false information has been spread against you in the public domain, you can file for defamation. You should have valid evidence that the incorrect information has tarnished your reputation. You need to prove that the misinformation has been spread for an unlawful reason.
Going ahead with a defamation case involves potential risks. Filing a defamation case can make you go bankrupt. But with a professional lawyer, you will end up saving a lump sum amount. You will have to bear the fee of the lawyer. But it is still more cost-effective than doing it on your own. Moreover, an attorney will help you avoid common mistakes.
The case may become time-consuming with a lawyer. But the time will be worth the compensation that you will be receiving afterward. Therefore, you are recommended to hire a respected and reputed defamation lawyer.
You have the right to send a concern notice to the person who spread defamatory information against you. The notice will have to classify the defamatory imputation. The communicator of false information is usually given 28 days to make amends. The person can offer necessary corrections, issue an apology or pay a reasonable amount. If you are satisfied with the offerings of the communicator, then the issue ends there. You will no longer be required to file a defamation case. The communicator might not strike up a fair deal or fail to respond within the stipulated time. In that case, there is no option left other than going to court.
- Check The Details In Your Concern Notice
You need to specify in your concern notice what part of a publication is defamatory to your reputation. A concern notice is an excellent way to get rid of social media posts or receive an apology email. Trolls and memes targeting famous personalities are common on social media platforms.
But if something is against community standards and taints your image, you have every right to point it out. Defamation in media law does not require you to mention the offer you are willing to accept. But it is advisable to specify the offer that will satisfy you.
- Time Limit For Issuing A Defamation Case
There is a strict time limit that you need to remember for issuing a defamation case. A defamation case can be lodged within one year of the publication of the defamatory comment. You cannot lodge a case against a defamatory comment made more than a year ago. Similarly, you have a specified time for sending a concern notice. You can send a concern notice within eleven months from the date of publication. In the case of online defamatory posts, the time is counted from the date the comments were made accessible.
If your reputation has been attacked, you can hire a defamation lawyer. They will be able to guide you with legal advice. You can send a concern notice to the communicator specifying the offer you will accept. If the communicator agrees, there is no need to proceed to court.
Hopefully, this post will help you deal with defamation cases and fight them effectively.