As the corporate landscape gets competitive, rivals will go as far as they can to damage your brand’s reputation. The growing number of business defamation cases shows how common the concern is for organizations. You can expect people to indulge in verbal slander or defame your business in writing. The risk runs even higher now that people can freely post unfiltered reviews online and harm brands with defamatory statements. Thankfully, startups and established enterprises can file defamation lawsuits, but everything boils down to proving that you have been wronged. Here are the facts that you will have to show for protecting your business against defamation.
A false statement of fact
If you want to claim defamation against a person or business, you will have to show that they made a false statement of fact with malicious intent. Any negative statement, therefore, cannot be regarded as a valid ground to file a claim. For it to be regarded as defamatory, it should state a fact rather than an opinion. Further, it must also be false to make a valid claim. The burden of proof lies with the business, so you will have to prove that the other person or company is lying to cause harm to your brand.
Publication of the statement
While a defamatory statement can be spoken or written, it must be published to show that your company has been wronged. Published indicates that a third party heard or read the statement. It could include saying or writing something to make it public through media channels such as radio, television, newspaper, social media, or online reviews. Even speeches and loud conversations can entail publication.
The statement was injurious
A statement is defamatory only if it is injurious to your business. The entire objective of defamation law is to protect people and businesses against reputational damage. If you want to prove the claim, you will have to collaborate with a seasoned defamation lawyer and prove that your business’ reputation has taken a blow due to the false statement. Additionally, you can prove that it also caused economic damages in the form of lost customers and profits for the business. The validity of the claim hinges on the evidence of damage, so it is advisable that you seek legal expertise to prove it.
Lack of privilege
Even as you bring up a lawsuit to seek damages for your business, the defendant can also assert some privileges as a defense. If they end up showing that their statement is true, the claim can be dismissed. Similarly, you cannot sue a witness who states a fact in the course of legal proceedings, even if they testify falsely. Also, lawmakers have this privilege, and businesses cannot sue them for repeating allegations in a legislative chamber. The defendant must lack this privilege for the lawsuit to be valid.
Defamation can have a far-reaching impact on a business, as they may end up losing their future revenue potential, missing out on growth opportunities, and tarnishing their reputation. It makes sense to establish your rights and claim damages for being implicated wrongly, so you must do whatever it takes.