Elements of a breach of contract claim
In the best-case scenario, business contracts signed by two parties would result in no disputes or conflicts and would benefit everyone involved. However, this is not always the case as delays, financial problems, and unforeseen events can occur and thus, prevent the contract from being carried out. In this case, one party usually ends up suing the other.
A breach-of-contract occurs when a contract can no longer be carried out as initially agreed upon and written. Each case is different, but the most common breaches occur when a party fails to perform on time, a party does not perform in line with the contract terms, or a party does not perform at all. This is why all businesses must comply with the terms of their contracts. Failure to do so can result in loss of business, hefty financial penalties, damaged reputations, and lengthy legal battles.
Read on to learn about the four elements necessary in validating an alleged breach of contract.
- The contract must exist.
A contract cannot be enforced if it is not valid. Therefore, there must be proof that the contract is valid before moving forward with a breach-of-contract case. Although contracts can be oral or written, it is much easier to prove a written contract.
- The plaintiff performed in accordance with the terms of the contract.
The party that files the breach-of-contract lawsuit must be able to prove that they have performed and fulfilled their obligations assigned under the contract.
- In not performing according to the contract and not fulfilling their obligations, the defendant has breached the contract.
A minor or material breach has occurred when the defendant has not performed in accordance with the contract. In cases where breaches are minor, a lawsuit may not be worth filing since the breach is minor end does not impact the parties’ fulfillment of the terms of the contract.
However, a material breach occurs when the party does not receive the specifications outlined in the contract due to the breaching party’s inability to perform under the contract terms.
- The breach-of-contract resulted in damages to the plaintiff.
In order to determine the damages and a breach of contract case, you must look at the terms of the contract. However, if there are no specific penalties written in the contract, the court will need to consider distributing the following:
- Money lost
- Specific performance
- Compensation for time lost
- Expense reimbursement
- Payment for future money, time, and expenses that will be lost
- Any other damages found appropriate by the court
Legal action may take place if all elements listed above are present in a breach-of-contract case.
To learn more about the elements of a breach of contract claim, contact The Law Offices of Howe and Garside at (401) 841-5700. Our experienced and qualified attorneys can help keep you informed and, most importantly, help you achieve the best possible outcome. We look forward to hearing from you!