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How to Prove Libel

Has someone made written a false statement about you that has caused you harm? Gather the facts and learn how to argue something is libelous.


  • : Laws vary by state. Always consult an attorney for expert, specific legal advice
  • Step 1: Show publication Prove that the statement in question was published by getting a copy of the publication.
  • Step 2: Truth Prove that the statement made is not true. This can be challenging and expensive.
  • TIP: Opinions, satire, and hyperbole can be used as defenses in a libel suit.
  • Step 3: Prove damage Prove you have been damaged due to the false statement, such as providing evidence of lost customers or emotional distress.
  • Step 4: Prove negligence Prove negligence if it involves a private figure. Negligence means a reasonable person would not have published the defamatory statement. If you are a public figure, prove that whoever published the information had full knowledge that it was false or in reckless disregard for the truth.
  • TIP: In some cases you will need to prove that the publisher had knowledge the statement was false even if you are a private figure.
  • Step 5: Take them to court Hire a lawyer to collect evidence and present your case in court.
  • FACT: In 2006, the median annual earnings of lawyers were $102,470.

You Will Need

  • Lawyer
  • Defaming publication
  • Truth
  • Evidence
  • Proof of damages
  • Proof of negligence or malice

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