Business contracts are supposed to provide you with some certainty. Your business and the other party to the contract have certain responsibilities and duties. In return, there's an assurance of particular benefits. However, when the other party to your contract breaches or violates the terms, that certainty is destroyed.
Any breach may have negative consequences for your business. Here's what you need to know about broken contracts, and why you may have legal recourse.
Different Ways a Business Contract May be Breached
Failure to uphold a legally-binding agreement can be defined in many ways. The other party may have breached your contract by committing a(n):
- Material breach of contract. This is a serious situation. It means that one party has failed to perform its essential duties as described in the contract.
- Actual or fundamental breach of contract. In this case, one party failed to do something that was so fundamental to the contract, another party was prevented from upholding its own responsibilities pursuant to the contract.
- Anticipatory breach of contract. While the contract may not yet be technically broken, there may come a time when it becomes clear that one party won't be able to fulfill the terms within the time limits set forth in the agreement.
- Minor breach of contract. This means the general scope of the contract was mostly fulfilled, but there were one or more mistakes that violated the terms.
Depending on the specific type of breach and the damages you suffered, you may be able to pursue a legal case that requires the other party to perform duties pursuant to the contract. You may also present a case for monetary damages sustained as a result of the breach of contract.
Possible Defenses in a Breach of Contract Case
While the breach of contract may seem clear to you, you should expect the other party to oppose the claim. Some common defenses include:
- Fraud. The defendant claims you lied or failed to provide an important fact prior to the contract's execution. Therefore, the defendant will argue the contract wasn't valid.
- Undue influence or duress. In this type of defense, the defendant argues that he was forced to sign the contract and didn't do so of his own free will. Thus, the contract was invalid.
- Mistake. If the defendant can prove you made a mistake in the terms or issuance, then the contract may be considered invalid.
Additionally, if you wait too long to file a breach of contract lawsuit, the defendant may argue the statute of limitations has expired, and your claim shouldn't be heard by the court.
How to Protect Your Business From a Breach of Contract
A well-written contract is one of the best ways to protect you and your business. However, you can’t control everything the other party does. A breach of contract dispute may still arise even with a proper contract.
If you're looking for an efficient way to resolve your contract dispute, it's important to contact an experienced business litigation lawyer who can advise you of all legal options and help protect your interests. Please contact us today by phone or through this website to schedule an initial free consultation.