what is breach of contract

What is Breach of Contract?

You may be wondering what is a breach of contract? Luckily, you are in the right place. Remember when a “contract” consisted of a gentleman’s agreement sealed with a handshake? If not, do not feel bad because those days never existed. As generations entered into (and tried to get out of) agreements with others, a whole body of law arose. This body of law is referred to as “contract law” or the “law of contracts.”

When a person breaks a contractual promise, that person has “breached” the contract terms. In fact, a breach is any nonperformance or noncompliance with the mutually understood and agreed to terms of a contract.

Ordinary and Material Breaches of Contract

If your mortgage payment is due on the 5th, but you pay on the 6th, this is technically a “breach”. In these and similar cases, a breach may not be so serious as to end the contract between the parties. If the parties can still complete their obligations, a breach will not relieve the parties of their contractual duties.

However, some breaches are so serious that they deprive the non-breaching party of the contractual benefits. The law refers to these as “material” breaches and typically result in the contract between the parties ending. For instance, if you agreed to buy the exact Aston Martin used in a blockbuster film for a set price, and the other party presented you with another, “run-of-the-mill” Aston Martin, the other person would have committed a material breach. In this case, you were deprived of the benefit of the contract– a particular, one-of-a-kind vehicle.

What Happens When There is a Breach of a Contract?

When a party breaches a contract, the non-breaching party has several legal remedies available (sometimes called the “aggrieved” or “injured” party). If money can adequately compensate the aggrieved party, they may be able to recover an amount from the breaching party.  The amount will put the aggrieved party in the position they would have been in if the terms were followed. Or, the position they would have been in if the contract did not exist.

For instance, if the aggrieved party had ordered a certain make and model of car with certain accessories and the accessories are missing, monetary damages can be awarded to the aggrieved party that would enable him or her to purchase the accessories that aren’t included.

In certain circumstances, a court can order a person to fulfill his or her contractual obligations by ordering “specific performance.” For instance, if the breaching party has in his or her possession the unique Aston Martin but refuses to sell it according to the terms of the contract, a court can order that the terms of the contract be enforced and the car sold.

If you feel that another person or business has not lived up to its obligations as part of a contract, contact the Patterson Law Firm right away at (312) 223-1699. You may be entitled to certain legal damages or remedies. But in most cases you only have a limited time in which to seek these damages and remedies. Reach out to us today.

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