How to sue someone for slander

Updated February 21, 2017

Slander, in its broadest terms, is the act of publicly speaking injurious statements about another party, when the statements are known by the speaker to be false. You can sue someone for slander only if the false statements they spoke resulted in financial or personal loss.

Check your state's statute of limitations regarding personal injury law, which defamation law falls under. FreeAdvice (see Resources below) offers a helpful chart as well as direct links to state-specific information.

Refrain from making false public statements and/or accusations against other parties. The best way to avoid having someone sue you for slander is to avoid making slanderous statements. Only publicize those thoughts that you have reasonable grounds to believe are true.

Gather witnesses. Because slander, by its nature, is transitory in form, you will need eyewitness testimony to show in court that the slander actually occurred. You must also be prepared to offer hard proof that the slander harmed you in a significant way. This may mean gathering additional witnesses or disclosing financial information to the court.

Hire a qualified personal injury attorney or libel and slander specialist to bring a lawsuit against the party who slandered you. Browse for specialists in your state by visiting's personal injury pages (see Resources below).

Try to settle your slander case out of court, if possible. It will save you considerable time and money in legal proceedings and expenses.


Be aware that confusion can sometimes result when dealing with cross-state laws. Some states have laws on the books specifically dealing with slander, while others consider slander under the legal heading of defamation. Defamation is the act of publicly making statements, written or spoken, which are known to be false and which cause their target harm.


In order to overcome the protection of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the injury resulting from the slander must be proven in court beyond all reasonable doubt. The fierce protection of free speech can be problematic to people who want to sue someone for slander. However, your right to conduct your personal business free of defamation is also protected by law.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Libel and slander lawyer (highly recommended)
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