Calculating Damages In A Defamation Case
If you are pursuing a defamation claim or lawsuit, you should be clear on the type and amount of damages to demand. A defamation lawsuit has both actual and assumed damages. The actual damages are meant to restore you to your rightful position; these are what you need to calculate to undo the damage done to you by the defamation. Here are some of the actual damages to pursue:
Loss of Earnings
These are the direct earnings, such as salaries or business profits, which you have lost since the defendant published the defamatory statement. Consider an example where a defamatory accusation is made against you and you are suspended without pay for some months or forced to close your business for some time. In either case, you should be compensated for the money you should have earned, but didn't earn, for the entire duration. This includes employment benefits such as pension contributions and health insurance.
Lost Future Opportunities
A defamatory accusation can also make you lose some future earning opportunities. For example, it can make you be excluded from a contract or a job interview. As long as you can prove that you stood a good chance of getting such earnings without the defamation, you should be able to receive relevant compensation for them.
Defamation isn't like a car accident that automatically calls for medical care; people don't usually seek medical care when defamed. However, there are cases where you may have to seek medical attention for injuries related to defamation. For example, if you experience a mental breakdown and has to see a doctor or seek psychiatric care, the defendant should take care of the ensuing bills.
The Cost of Reclaiming Your Reputation
Lastly, you also need to calculate the cost of redeeming your damaged reputation and add it to your damages. For example, if you were evicted from your home because the neighbors thought you were a child molester, the cost of redeeming your reputation may include proving to the neighbors that you aren't such a criminal. This also includes things like producing records that may prove your innocence or moving back to your home if you had been chased out of the neighborhood.
These represent just a section of damages you are entitled to in case of a defamation claim or lawsuit. Consult a civil litigation lawyer for a discussion on the full range of damages you may be entitled to, including assumed damages.