How to Handle a Breach of Contract
You have a signed contract — maybe it’s with a builder, or a caterer, or a consultant. Whatever the service they were supposed to provide, they are not keeping up their end of the deal. That’s known as breach of contract, and anybody who ever signs a contract needs to understand the different types of breaches and what to do if they happen to you.
There are two basic types of breach of contract. The first is a partial or minor breach, in which the person you’ve entered the agreement with hasn’t done what they are supposed to. The second is a material breach. A material breach is much more substantive, and as a result, the party that has been wronged is eligible to file a claim for greater damages. What determines whether a breach is minor, or material is based upon how badly the injured party was affected by the breach, how much was paid, how badly the terms were broken. Other significant factors include the breaching party’s behavior and whether they would be able to perform what they failed to do.
There are other types of breaches, including an anticipatory breach that makes the other party believe that the contract will remain complete, and a fundamental breach in which one party breaks some of the terms, thus allowing the wronged party to end the contract. In all cases, a breach of contract ends up in disappointment, and possibly to delays or unavailability in a much-needed and relied-upon end result.
In order to file a breach of contract lawsuit, you need to be able to show that a valid contract was in place. It doesn’t matter whether the contract was executed in writing or via a handshake: as long as there was a discussion of an offer and agreement to terms, as well as consideration having been given to show that the contract had been agreed upon, a contract is considered enforceable. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that you can sue. You also need to be able to show that you suffered some kind of loss or damages, whether it is represented in time, money or opportunity costs.
When you file a breach of contract claim, you can expect that you will either be able to recover compensation for the losses that you incurred, whether that was the cost of what you were supposed to receive or consequential damages that pay you for the damages you incurred as a result of the breach.
If you believe that you have been damaged by somebody’s breach of contract, the best thing to do is to contact an attorney with experience and knowledge of contract law. To set up a consultation with our experienced lawyers, contact us today.