How Do I Prove a Breach of Contract?
All industries are built on mutual trust and respect between individuals and corporations. To legally enforce this trust, we often sign into a contract to ensure we are all following through on our obligations. If other members of the contract fail to fulfill their obligations under the contract, a breach of contract has occurred. This resulting breach of contract may result in you suffering economic losses. If these losses occurred because of the actions of another member in the contract, then you may be entitled to sue for damages, demand specific actions be taken, or terminate the contract.
What Must a Breach of Contract Include?
When filing a lawsuit for a breach of contract, a contract attorney must prove:
- Existence of a contract: First and foremost, a contract must exist for there to be a breach. A contract can be oral or written, but it must include an offer, acceptance, and consideration. Often this takes the form of one party offering an agreement, the second party accepting that agreement, and both parties receiving something as a result of an agreement, such as payment or services.
- Performance by the plaintiff: A breach also requires that one party, often the plaintiff filing the lawsuit, “performed” their part of the agreement. This can mean they have completed or partially completed their role in the contract, and deserve payment for their work.
- Non-performance by the defendant: While performance means that one party has fulfilled their terms of the contract, non-performance means the defendant has not. This can include not completing their required work, providing payment, or meeting any other terms of the contract.
- Damages: Lastly, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s non-performance resulted in tangible economic losses for the plaintiff.
How is a Breach of Contract Resolved?
Damages for a breach of contract should equal the amount of money or property that the plaintiff should have received if the contract had been fulfilled. For example, let us say that a contract worker entered into a contract with a larger corporation. The worker and the corporation signed a contract stating that the contractor would receive $5,000 upon completion of the contract. However, if the corporation only pays the contractor $3,000, then it would be liable for $2,000 in a lawsuit to even out the losses suffered by the contractor.
Alternatively, the injured party may be entitled to a specific action by the defendant. This is an order issued by the judge requiring the party in breach of contract to perform a service for the plaintiff. The court may also place an injunction on the defendant if their actions – as opposed to inaction – is damaging to the plaintiff. In this case, the defendant would have to fulfill their end of the contract or face further legal action.
Remedies for a breach of contract may also be outlined within the contract itself, including damages or specific actions that must be fulfilled if a contract is breached. In some cases, the damages may be too extensive, and the court may dissolve the contract in favor of the plaintiff.
Pursuing a Breach of Contract
Contract law is complicated and can be easily misunderstood. The other party is likely to be represented by attorneys, and so should you. If a party has breached a contract with you, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Protecting your financial future is the most critical aspect of the commercial litigation services offered by Bottlinger Law L.L.C. If another party has breached a contract in the state of Nebraska, contact us at (402) 505-8234 to get an Omaha commercial litigation attorney on your side.
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