When someone says something that hurts your reputation, it can have an impact on every aspect of your life. Defamation can hurt your business and personal life. In Toronto, it is a criminal offense for a person to make defamatory remarks about another person. A person is subject to a prison term of up to two or five years, depending on whether they knew their statement was defamatory. For most people, the goal of a lawsuit is to recover damages rather than to punish the person who hurt them. Since proving defamation can be challenging, it's important to get the best defamation lawyers in Toronto for your case.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation can be divided into two types: libel and slander. Libel is the publishing of material without lawful justification or excuse that will likely injure the reputation of a person by exposing them to hatred, contempt, or ridicule. It might be expressed directly, by insinuation or irony, in legibly marked words, or through any object signifying a defamatory libel.
With the increased use of cell phones and social media sites, defamation has become increasingly common. Too often, people don’t think twice about posting a comment that causes others to think less of a person. A single post by one person can reach hundreds or thousands of other social media users, resulting in a widespread impact. Defamation can cause damage to your reputation and emotional distress. It can also lead to financial or social concerns.
Slander refers to the spoken word and might also include gestures or signs. It is the most difficult to prove, and most people have trouble collecting damages in a defamation slander case. Often, you must prove special damages unless the other party accuses you of committing a crime, of having a loathsome disease, being unfit to practice in their profession, or some others.
If one of these exceptions doesn’t apply, you must prove that you experienced a material loss. This is one reason people search for the best defamation lawyers in Toronto to handle their case.
What Does a Defamation Lawyer Do?
Suing another person for defamation is for the purpose of collecting damages. Defamation law is a complex area that requires extensive fact-finding. If you are suing someone else for defamation, you have the burden of proof showing that the other party is liable. Some ways that the lawyer defines and proves the other party’s guilt include:
- If average, decent members of your community would think of the statement as defamatory, then it is.
- It is only defamation if they write or say something that isn’t true. If they can prove the statement to be true, then it isn’t defamation.
- You don’t have to prove that the statement was made maliciously. It is up to the court to determine the meanings of the words used. In some cases, this might include secondary meanings, slang, or innuendos.
- Although a statement might be false, if it doesn’t cause harm, it is not defamatory.
- The defamatory statement must have been made in the presence of a third party who understood it.
In Grant v. Torstar Corp, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the plaintiff must prove three elements for defamation including:
- The other party (defendant) made a derogatory statement,
- The words referred to the plaintiff,
- And the words were communicated to at least one additional person other than the plaintiff.
Hurt feelings are not enough to make a defamation case. Schedule a consultation with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case.
Finding the Best Defamation Lawyers in Toronto for Your Case
Once you understand the challenges of proving a defamation case, you know what you need from a defamation lawyer. The best lawyers have the skills and tools to find evidence and prove your case. Atlas Law Group has years of experience helping people from all walks of life prove their defamation cases.
Atlas Law Group serves clients in Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Schedule a consultation to discuss your potential defamatory case, and we will discuss your rights with you. We rely on the latest digital technology and were one of the first in our sector to use docusign/e-signatures. You can count on us to be swift, thorough, and professional every step of the way. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.