If you are pursuing a defamation lawsuit, you are probably wondering how the court or jury will determine how much to award when you win your case. Here are four of the essential factors that may determine the size of your award:
Gravity of the Allegation
Some statements can harm your reputation more than others. Therefore, it follows that the more serious statement may warrant a bigger award than a slight statement. For example, a person damages your reputation if they claim you are a drug abuser. However, a claim that you abuse heroin is more serious than a claim that you abuse carisoprodol (Soma). Heroin is a Schedule I drug with a high potential for abuse that attracts extremely harsh sentences. Soma is not as addictive as heroin and may not attract the same level of punishment.
Reach of the Statement
The more people hear or read the defamatory statement, the greater the harm to your reputation. The number of people who hears or reads the defamatory statement depends on the size, medium and influence of the publication. For example, a defamatory statement published on a popular news page on a social media platform, such as Facebook, can easily go viral and reach millions of people. Contrast this with a statement made in front of a group of a dozen classmates.
The Effect on Your Reputation
One way of gauging the damage to your reputation is by looking at the effect it has had on your life. How much have you lost from the defamation? The answer to this question will form a big part of the calculation of the damages. You can strengthen your case and increase your damages, for example, by showing that you have lost business clients have been denied a promotion due to the defamatory statements.
The Respective Conduct of the Plaintiff and Defendant
Lastly, the court will also consider whether you could have contributed to the publication of the defamatory statement. You can contribute to a defamatory statement in several ways. For example, joking about something or daring a person to publish something about you may actually make them do it. The court will also consider whether the defendant has realized the error of their ways and apologized or they have been making the situation worse, for example, by giving interviews and insisting they are right. Your respective conducts can increase or decrease your damages.
Therefore, it's in your best interest to prove the aggravating factors that may push up the size of your award. Furnish your lawyer, such as Tucker Josh D P.C., with all the information they require so that, perhaps with the help of expert witnesses, you can develop a strong case.