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Definition of Slander

Slander is making defamatory statements in a non-fixed medium (orally) which causes harm to another person. Slander differs from libel in that it is spoken not written. Elements of slander involve the making of statements, the publication (not written) of statements to a third party (someone other than the defamed), the matter is of public concern and it causes damage to the plaintiff. Damages can include mental anguish but generally refer to loss of reputation which causes a monetary loss (such as loss of professional reputation).

Laws vary by jurisdiction, but most jurisdictions recognize certain statements as defamatory on their face such as attacking the professional character of another person, stating someone has a sexually transmitted disease, alleging someone has committed a crime or an unmarried person is not chaste. Consider, however, allegations or slander without loss do not constitute injury. To win a personal injury case you will have to prove you have suffered loss or injury.

There are several defenses to slander. For instance, it is not slander if it is the truth, if someone consented to the dissemination of the information, the statements were made by lawyers or witnesses in court and are considered privileged, the statements are recognized as opinions, or the defendant can prove the plaintiff already had a poor reputation and did not suffer any damages.

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