VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

What remedies are available after a breach of contract?

Whether it affects your home or business, a breach of contract is frustrating. You've gone to the trouble of identifying a good prospect and negotiating a favorable deal only to have the other party fail to fulfill the bargain.

Now you'll have to go through the trouble and expense of finding another solution. Unfortunately, the party you originally chose may really have been your best bet. You may have chosen them because they entered the lowest bid -- or they might be a premier provider able to provide services others don't. Whatever the case, you need the job done and you need it done right.

What kind of money damages can be awarded?

The remedy for a breach of contract depends on the situation and the contract. The idea behind awarding compensatory damages to the non-breaching party is pretty straightforward. Damages are available to compensate you for your reasonable economic losses. The law assumes you've earned the benefit of the bargain, too, so you should be awarded whatever would make you as whole as if the contract had been performed.

For example, suppose you hired the party with the lowest bid. If that party's breach of the contract caused you to have to hire another contractor at a higher price, you would get damages, at the least, in the amount of the price difference. You could be awarded other compensation if the breach of contract caused you to incur additional expenses, as long as those were reasonable.

Your contract might have a specific amount in damages that either side could expect in case of a breach. This may have been done so that the parties could avoid having to prove actual damages. When a specific amount in damages is agreed to in the contract, they are called liquidated damages.

There are other types of money damages available, such as restitution, partial-payments under quantum meruit theory, nominal damages and punitive damages.

Sometimes, however, monetary damages simply won't make the innocent party whole. For example, the contract might be for the purchase of a unique item or for a specific, time-limited service.

If you contracted to buy an original da Vinci painting and the seller changed their mind at the last minute, you could ask the court to order the seller to fulfill the contract. This is called specific performance. In other situations, you might seek cancellation.

Whatever your situation, if you experience a breach of contract you should discuss your situation with a lawyer. You may have legal duties to perform in order to retain your rights, and a lawyer can help you seek a remedy that will leave you as whole as possible.

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