Whether or not you are bringing suit for libel or defending yourself against a libel suit, it is imperative that you gather all necessary evidence in order to prove your case. Libel is a form of defamation that is written or transmitted in another permanent form, such as television or radio. The person who is prepared with all potentially relevant evidence will have an easier time of showing the court why he believes he has the right to either redress or a dismissal of the case.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Internet access
- Copy of printed or recorded statement that is in issue
Hire an attorney who is well-versed in tort law. The best way to gather evidence is to be aware of everything that should be presented to the judge or magistrate hearing your case. Preparation is key to a successful result.
Gather all information that either supports the allegation of libel (that is, information that proves the statements are false) or information that directly supports the proffered written matter and compile it in Findlaw's Intake Form (see Resources below).
Obtain a copy of the alleged written statement or statements that are at issue. The basics of a libel case are showing that an injury to reputation has occurred by providing the written or recorded matter.
Contact witnesses who can corroborate your position and have them ready to appear in court, if necessary. This is especially true if the statements made were to a small group of people, as opposed to the public as a whole.
Tips and warnings
- Remember that truth is almost always an absolute defense to a libel claim, so make sure that you are choosing the right cause of action to bring in your case. If someone has invaded your privacy or used your name or image without your permission, there are other actions that cover those incidents.
- Defamation is a false or misleading statement concerning a person that is published to at least a third person and which causes harm to the person's reputation. If no one sees or hears the statements except for the person who makes the statement and the person about whom the statement is made, there is no libel.
- When writing or recording information about another person that will be disseminated to the public, make sure that you have substantiated all claims that you intend to make. Gather all source information and keep it in a secure place so that you can reference it if needed for evidence in a libel case.