A breach of contract happens when there is a failure to perform any or all terms of a contract, whether it’s written or oral. This failure can include not completing a job, not paying on time or at all, not delivering goods ordered, or any act that shows the party is not going to complete the work. Simply put, a breach of contract occurs when any of the terms of the contract are broken.
Three Types of Contract Breaches
A material breach of contract means that one party performs his obligations of the contract in such a way that the contract is destroyed. For example, if an electrician was contracted for safety purposes to utilize high-grade wires, but installs lower grade wires, he’s in breach of the contract. One of the intents of the contract involved safety, and the electrician disregarded it.
A fundamental breach is, like the word, so fundamental that it permits the aggrieved, non-breaching party to terminate the contract because they are deprived the benefit of the contract. It is, essentially, a total breakdown of the material provisions of a contract.
An anticipatory breach occurs when the non-breaching party realizes that the other party won’t perform their part of the contract.
Types of Damages Collected from a Breach of Contract
To collect damages in a breach of contract lawsuit, the aggrieved party must prove that they have suffered some type of loss or damage(s) as a result of the breach. Damages may be money lost, time lost, loss of opportunity, or any number of other types of loss. The amount of monetary damages depends on how much money it will take to make the aggrieved party whole, meaning the value of the goods or services that were to be provided.
Actual damages, also known as “compensatory damages,” refers to the money awarded to compensate someone for monetary or property loss. This amount is based on the proven loss, injury, or harm to the aggrieved party.
Punitive damages can be awarded if the defendant’s actions are so reckless or malicious that they’d give a reasonable person pause. Punitive damages are those in excess of actual damages. They are given as a means of punishing the defendant for outrageous misconduct.
There are many elements involved in a breach of contract and its related damages, so it’s important to seek advice from an experienced attorney. The contracts attorneys at Bennett, Weston, LaJone & Turner P.C. can assist you in determining whether a contract you’ve entered into has been breached, and what damages might result.