1. Was the defamation due to a false statement verbally, that was relayed as a fact by another person to a third party?
2. Was the defamation due to a false statement published in writing?
3. Did the individual(s) who made the statement verbally or in writing do it intentionally or negligently to cause harm?
4. Was harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement?
5. Another big question to ask yourself before jumping to a defamation conclusion is: Is any of this statement true in any way?
One of the biggest things that come up in defamation cases is how factual the defaming statements are. In some cases even if there is some factuality to the statement but not totally factual it can still work against you.
Defamation consists of two aspects, Slander and Libel. Slander is when someone negatively affects your reputation when they speak falsely about you to a third party. Libel occurs when a statement is published about you in writing that is false. In situations where there is blatant libel or slander it is much simpler to pursue a case of defamation against the defaming individual. What makes more defamation cases difficult is that the statements made are often not completely false. They are often based somewhat on at least a little bit of truth that has been skewed into the statement made by the other party. At that point the person or entity that has been defamed must demonstrate that despite the small percentage of truth the factuality of the statement itself is false. Another major factor when establishing your case of defamation is proving that there was an intention to, or there was negligence involved in purposefully releasing false information about you. Finally you would also have to prove that you have suffered negatively from the defamation.
An example of libel is if someone posts a statement on social media that is blatantly false about an individual or an entity of some sort. Due to this the persons or entities reputation greatly suffers. This type of blatant situation would make it possible to pursue a case of defamation. An example of slander would be if a co-worker says something blatantly false about you to another co-worker which therefore gets to your boss or other employees and as a result greatly affects your reputation in the company. This would be a situation where defamation based on slander would come into play.