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What Are The Available Damages In A Defamation Case?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Defamation | 0 comments

False statements can be damaging to the name and reputation of a person. Whether slander or libel, the defendant can be sued even if there was no harm or injury involved. Charleston defamation attorneys of Clawson and Staubes will tell you that even the Internet and cellular communication can be a source of defamatory remarks. If your name or reputation was hurt by false statements, you are eligible to collect damages.

In defamation, there are actually three types of damages that you can recover. Actual Damages are compensatory damages designed to help the plaintiff restore their rightful position which they should have had if not for the defamatory remark. These types of damages may include lost wages or earning capacity, medical expenses, shame, mortification, and others.

Assumed or presumed damages result from the publication of the defamatory remark. Even if the actual damages are not proven, there is always an assumption that the plaintiff experienced harm to their reputation or suffered shame, mortification, or hurt feeling. However, assumed damages are not available for slander.

Punitive Damages

Like in any other case, punitive damages in defamation is are designed to punish the defendant for their egregious conduct in order to prevent similar actions from happening in the future. In order to receive punitive damages, the plaintiff should prove that the action of the defendant involved malice or fraud.

The availability of damages will depend on the type of defamation involved in the case. For instance, assumed damages are available in libel but not in slander cases. In defamation per se, assumed damages can be recovered. Here, the statement is without a doubt defamatory. Defamation per quod requires the plaintiff to explain why the statement under question is defamatory. This commonly happens in statements that are inducements or innuendos. In defamation per quod, the plaintiff needs to prove actual damages.

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