Business Defamation in Georgia
If you or your business has suffered harm due to someone else’s false and defamatory statement, our Norcross defamation attorneys can help.
Individuals and businesses can sue for defamation when someone makes a false statement about the individual or a company, causing injury to the individual’s reputation and financial harm to the business. Under Georgia law, there are two types of defamatory statements:
- Spoken statements, or slander; and
- Written statements, or libel.
In Georgia, individuals and businesses can pursue a defamation lawsuit to recover damages caused by defamatory statements. However, while an individual can simply prove that the defendant’s false statement harmed their reputation to obtain compensation, a business must show evidence of financial losses as a result of the defamation.
Contact a Norcross defamation attorney if you or your business has been subjected to false and defamatory statements. At Zimmerman & Associates, we have the experience, resources, and skills to help you recover damages and financial losses caused by defamation.
What are the Elements of Defamation in Georgia?
In order to successfully sue another person or entity for defamation, your claim must contain the following elements:
- Defamation. You must prove that the statement made by the defendant is false. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-5-6, truth is an absolute defense in a defamation action. In other words, you must prove that the statement is (a) false and (b) it purports to be factual (it is not an opinion).
- Publication. The false statement must have been made to any 3rd party, who reasonably understands.
- Damages. An individual simply has to prove that the defendant’s false statement harmed their reputation. A business must show evidence of financial losses as a result of the defamation. General damages are presumed. Special damages are not required for libel and slander per se.
- Fault & Falsity. When the plaintiff is a public person, or public figure, he/she must show malice. When the plaintiff is a private person and the subject matter of the defamation is a matter of public concern, he/she must show negligence. When the plaintiff is a private person and the subject matter of the defamation is a matter of private concern, he/she must show publication only.
When filing a defamation lawsuit in Georgia, it is advisable to seek the legal counsel of a skilled attorney to help you prove the above-mentioned four elements.
What is Slander Per Se in Georgia?
Certain defamatory statements may be elevated to slander per se in Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 51-5-4). Slander per se is a type of slander historically regarded as so harmful that it is presumed that the plaintiff suffered damage from the fact of its very utterance. Three types of slander are so classified:
- Slander that imputes to plaintiff a crime punishable by law;
- Charging a person with having some contagious disorder or with being guilty of some debasing act which may exclude him/her from society; or
- Making charges against another in reference to his/her trade, office, or profession.
Georgia courts use the “single instance test” in business defamation lawsuits. In other words, you cannot sue someone for defamation if the statement refers to a single instance of the defendant’s mistake or ignorance.
Contact a Norcross Defamation Attorney Today
If you or your business has suffered harm due to someone else’s false and defamatory statements, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney. You have no time to waste since you have only one year to file a defamation lawsuit in Georgia.
Consult with our Norcross defamation attorneys at Zimmerman & Associates to help you determine if you have grounds to sue another person or entity for making false statements. Call (770)-350-0100 to schedule a consultation.