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Expert Witness Testimony in Defamation Cases

Defamation complications affect both standard persons and celebrities, and it is difficult to undo the damage simple words or print may cause to these individuals. When a defamation case is complicated and difficult to understand, an expert witness is hired to unravel the mystery and explain the relevant details to the courtroom.

Defamation of character is often harmful enough that a person may lose his or her job, career, livelihood and social circle depending on what is revealed to the populace. While some details may be true, defamation involves the harmful disclosure of information that may show the individual in a false or negative light to others. In the age of the computer, online defamation is complicated and may be impossible to eradicate. The data spreads fast, numerous persons are able to track and share the information and the spreading of slanderous or libelous details becomes worse when more false facts are added to the original leak.

When there are multiple elements to a case, if the perpetrator has not divulged all areas he or she has placed details or when the victim has lost his or her career and other prospects, an expert witness may be hired to simplify the
case or explain certain pieces of evidence. The defamation case is less complicated when a professional that understands these matters clearly is able to describe what could occur with the victim such as a loss of income, having been harmed publically or if someone threatens him or her due to the false details or the incident.

Defamation Explained

Experts are generally hired because understanding what certain crimes are may be complicated for a judge or jury in the incident. Defamation comes in two forms through libel and slander. Libel occurs when someone has published something about another person that may shed him or her in a negative light through false information. Slander is when spoken details of another harm the victim’s reputation. These may transpire through print, the spoken word to others, online and in other media. In usual circumstances, the defamation harms the person’s character, public view and life. This is the reason to seek a remedy to the situation.

When seeking an expert witness, the lawyer may look for someone with a specialized field of experience or study in defamation based on the case. If the claim is through online media, the professional must be versed in social media websites, sites online that are used for information or rumor purposes and chat programs. If the incident involves printed details, the expert must know how to contact the owner of the paper, magazine and other publication for a retraction. Other channels may involve the rumor mill of spoken descriptions and data that must be stopped for any chance of recovering from the incident.

Experience and Areas of Knowledge

Experts in defamation have experience with the subject matter and are able to explain confusing information, details and descriptions that are disclosed to the public about a person’s private life. To better know what areas of knowledge are relevant to the case, the individual’s case must be directly related to the field of study. It is crucial that if the claim is about libel, that an expert in the written and published word is hired rather than someone that specializes in the spoken details. Similarly, if the leak occurred through social media or websites, an expert in electronic defamation and networking is the better choice.

The area of knowledge for these cases extends to the type of damage the defamation caused. If the victim was emotionally distressed, the expert must explain how this translates into compensation. Monetary damages are awarded when the claim is successful, but in order to determine how much this should be, the expert’s job is to detail the issue and how much is reasonable and fair in the situation. The stress, anxiety and negative emotions that occur due to defamation are enough to lead to therapy, and sometimes compensation is needed for recovery.

Expert Testimony in Defamation

By explaining the situation, detailing how compensation is needed and how much should be expected, the expert is able to present his or her testimony to the courtroom. When the professional has reliable methods or processes of demonstrating the issue and what is necessary to resolve it, and his or her knowledge and experience are relevant to the subject, he or she may be successful in informing the judge or jury of the specific issues.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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