When a person seeks to ruin the reputation of a business or person, by spreading false statements of fact, it’s called defamation. Written defamation is libel; spoken defamation is slander. But be aware: defamation is a lot more than just a negative statement. To win a court case, plaintiffs must prove falsity, harm, and, at the very least, neglect.
To win a South Carolina defamation case, plaintiffs must prove that their respective defendants:
- Made a false statement of fact;
- That caused material or reputational harm; and
- The defendant acted either negligently, recklessly, or with actual malice when disseminating the material.
How are defamation claimants compensated in South Carolina? Typically through general and special damages. General damages involve assessing emotional and physical injury, hurt feelings, and mental suffering. Special damages are tangible — like business losses or employment setbacks.
South Carolina’s defamation laws largely follow federal standards, which you can read about here.