Lead Counsel independently verifies Defamation attorneys in Indianapolis by conferring with Indiana bar associations and conducting annual reviews to confirm that an attorney practices in their advertised practice areas and possesses a valid bar license for the appropriate jurisdictions.
If you believe you’ve been defamed, either slanderously or libelously, you should reach out to a local Indianapolis defamation lawyer to discuss the strengths and merits of your case. You can use our attorney directory to search for a lawyer in your area who has experience in defamation cases. Because defamation can be tricky to prove or defend against, depending on what kind of evidence is available, you may be better off talking to an experienced legal professional before you try to move forward with a lawsuit.
Defamation is usually an umbrella term for any kind of shared, false, harmful information, and libel and slander are more narrow types of defamation. Libel is physically shared defamation, like through writing or images. A newspaper that prints unverified information about someone may be engaging in libel. Slander, on the other hand, is a defamatory statement spread through speech. Proving libel or slander requires the same elements as broader defamation.
Defamation is the spreading of false, harmful information about someone else. In most cases, true defamation requires that the person who shared the false information presented it to other people as if it was truth. Another important element of defamation is that it must actually harm the subject’s reputation in some way that has a demonstrable negative effect on them. It’s generally not sufficient for the rumors to have the potential to harm the person’s reputation, or for the harm to be on a small-scale without larger impacts. If someone loses their job because of defamation, for example, that may be a demonstrable impact for pursuing a defamation case.
The best way to defend against a defamation case is to prove that the information is true. Spreading accurate negative information about someone is usually legal, even if it has a harmful impact on the person. You may also have a defense if the information you shared was an opinion and you made it clear that you were not presenting it as a genuine, unproven fact. In some states it’s also a defense to have a valid reason to genuinely believe the rumor is true. Typically, the person sharing the information needs to be at least negligent in how they spread it, such as by not fact-checking the rumors before passing it on to others. Another defense may be to challenge the impact the false information had on the subject and demonstrate that there is no provable way to show they were sufficiently harmed by it.
Defamation can be tricky to prove, and the exact qualifications and remedies will vary from state to state. In some states, for example, the “injured” party will need to prove that the defendant spread the false information maliciously. Not only can this be hard to prove, it can eliminate people who recklessly defame someone. Your case will be much stronger if you can show solid evidence of substantial harm the rumor caused you, or that the defamer is clearly the one who shared the information, such as by bringing in a printed, bylined article or having a witness give testimony about who told them a particular rumor.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.