There are two types of false accusations, libel and slander, which can be prosecuted in court through a lawsuit. Libel occurs when the false accusation is written down, and might occur in a magazine, a newspaper or on the Internet.
Slander occurs when the false accusation is orally published, and might occur in a speech, casual conversation between two parties or over the radio. False accusations are considered to be a defamation of character when a person publishes false statements that damage the reputation, integrity and character of a person. The target of the false accusations can go to court and collect damages.
These slander and libel cases are called defamation cases. To take a defamation case to court, the person who has been falsely accused must be able to prove, usually with the help of the person's lawyer, that the defendant made the defamatory statement and should have known that it was false. It must also be proven that the defamatory statement has caused harm to the individual, such as through the loss of profits. The statement must also clearly identify its target and cannot be vague, according to the New York City Bar organization.
There is a public figure exception that happens in defamation law. Celebrities and other public figures must have not only incurred false published statements, but also must be able to prove that those statements were intended to be malicious.