A deal is a deal, right? Well, that would ideally be the case. But as we are all painfully aware, people don’t always keep their word – in their personal lives or in business. When someone fails to keep their word or live up to expectations in the context of the latter, you may be able to pursue legal recourse – especially if their action(s) (or lack thereof) constitute a breach of contract.
As accomplished South Florida business and real estate lawyers, we can determine whether a breach has occurred, provide legal advice about your options, and represent you if you decide to take the matter to court.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
What is breach of contract?
In layman’s terms, a breach of contract is a transgression that occurs when someone who has legally agreed to the terms of a contract does not fulfill their end of the bargain, as set forth in that contract. For example, if a party to a contract promises to deliver a shipment to a Fort Lauderdale warehouse by a certain time on a specified day, and he or she never shows up or makes the delivery, you may be able to sue for breach of contract.
Or consider a scenario in which the same person signed a contract stipulating that he or she would take extra precautions with packaging and transportation – and the shipment was irreparably damaged upon arrival. In this case, you may also be able to pursue legal recourse.
What you must prove in a breach of contract case
To reach a settlement or be successful at trial in a breach of contract case, we must generally prove that:
- A valid contract existed
- A breach of that contract occurred
- A financial loss or other damages were incurred as a result of the breach
Once we establish that all of these elements exist, we can initiate legal proceedings by notifying the person or company that breached the contract. This notification, usually called a “demand letter,” outlines our case and lets the recipient know that they will be sued if they don’t correct the issue.
Material and non-material breach of contract
A breach of contract may be classified as material or non-material, depending on its severity. Of the two, a material breach is more serious. In fact, this type of breach is so egregious that it effectively destroys the veracity of the contract. In such cases, the person who incurred the loss(es) as a result of the breach is freed from any legal obligations under the agreement, can cancel it, and is generally allowed to sue for complete breach of contract.
Because a non-material breach is not as serious, the party who is wronged has limited legal recourse. Specifically, he or she can usually only sue to recover any sustained losses. He or she must also fulfill any obligations as stipulated in the contract, except for any damages caused by the specific breach of contract.
If you believe that someone has failed to meet his or her contractual obligations and you have sustained financial losses as a result, you need a skilled attorney to protect your rights. Conversely, if you’re being sued for breach of contract and need a knowledgeable business attorney to represent you, Eskander Loshak LLP is here to help. Contact us today at (954) 334-1122 to see how we can help.