In today’s world, almost all business transactions involve an agreement – typically a written agreement. The terms “contract” and “agreement” really refer to the same thing and are often used interchangeably.
Breach of contract is one of the most common types of business disputes for which legal representation is sought. Disputes over the terms and performance of contracts arise in all areas of business.
A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform any obligation under a contract or agreement. When a party has breached the terms of a contract to which you are a party, you may be entitled to file a breach of contract lawsuit to hold them financially liable.
If you are involved in a business dispute or breach of contract matter, please give our law firm a call to arrange a free consultation with an experienced business attorney
What Does the Law Require to Prove a Breach of Contract?
To succeed in a breach of contract case, you must prove that the following basic elements of a breach of contract are present:
The existence of a valid contract – You (the plaintiff) and the other party (the defendant) entered into a valid and existing contract. In most states, a contract can be in writing or, depending on the circumstances, oral or implied.
You were in the performance of the contract – In other words, you performed your obligation under the contract or were excused from performing that obligation.
The defendant actually breached the contract -The party being sued failed to perform some or all of their obligations under the contract, thereby breaching some material (essential) term of the contract.
You suffered damages – Damages are consequential losses, such as:
- Loss of money or supplies;
- Loss of anticipated profits;
- Loss of business;
- Loss of goodwill;
- Loss of reputation; and
- Loss of sales contracts
The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the damages you suffered – Your losses were a direct result of the defendant breaching the contract.
A common example of a breach of contract case is between a tenant and a landlord. When a tenant fails to pay his or her rent, the landlord can claim that the tenant breached the contract.
This scenario meets all the requirements of a breach of contract case because where there was an agreement to rent between tenant and landlord, there was a contract. The tenant then breached the terms of this contract by not paying the rent, causing financial damage to the landlord.
Other Considerations for a Breach of Contract Case
Contract law has various nuances that individuals and businesses should be aware of. Furthermore, before filing a breach of contract lawsuit, there are several things that you must take into consideration.
The first important consideration for a breach of contract case is the statute of limitations. State laws only give you a limited amount of time to bring a breach of contract lawsuit.
This statute of limitations can vary from 1 – 10 years, depending on the state and whether the contract was written or oral. You must, therefore, make sure that the appropriate statute of limitations that applies to your contract has not expired.
You must also understand that if your contract requires mediation or arbitration, you must submit to these processes before taking the case to court.
Finally, once you have determined that a breach of contract lawsuit is necessary, you will need to consider the appropriate court for your case, as well as, how you will file your paperwork and serve the defendant.
Contact an Experienced Business Attorney
If you think your business dispute satisfies the requirements of a breach of contract case, contact our law firm today to arrange a free consultation with an experienced business attorney. We can help you confirm that you have a viable breach of contract claim, and to resolve the dispute efficiently, and with the best possible outcome through a free case assessment.
The content on this page has been reviewed and approved by Matthew Davis: CEO of Davis Business Law.