June 10, 2014

Whether you or your business has entered into a contract with another party, you want to be able to trust that the other party will meet the terms of the contract. Unfortunately, however, this may not end up happening, as any number of factors can result in possible breaches of the contract. When this happens, knowing your legal options can be pivotal in protecting yourself, your assets and your business.

Check out these breach of contract FAQs to get some answers to commonly asked questions regarding this contract issue. Or simply call Downey & Associates, PC.

Check out these breach of contract FAQs to get some answers to commonly asked questions regarding this contract issue. Or simply call Downey & Associates, PC.

In this three-part blog, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about breaches of contracts. If you have questions not answered herein or need any assistance dealing with a contract-related issue, don’t hesitate to contact Denver Contract Dispute Lawyer Thomas E. Downey.

Q: When can statements serve as contracts?

A: Although it’s generally advisable than any agreement between two parties is documented in a written form as an official contract, there may be times when this is not possible or it just doesn’t end up happening. When this is the case, it may be possible to prove that a verbal agreement was made and that this agreement served as an oral contract.

In these cases, it’s usually necessary to prove that:

  • There was some type of promise made by one party to another.
  • The promise in question was reasonable, and the party that was promised something (like a service, payment, etc.) had a reasonable expectation that the promise would be met when the oral agreement was made.
  • The promiser (i.e., the party who made the promise) did not live up to his end of the agreement or deal.
  • No actions were taken by the party promised the deal that would let the promiser out of the agreement.

There are a number of other factors that can play into such oral agreements, so it’s best to consult an attorney to find out if an oral agreement can serve as a contract and when it’s possible to seek legal recourse for a possible breach of an oral contract.

Q: What types of contracts must be written?

A: In general, it’s best that any contract between two or more parties be documented in a written form. It’s also always advisable that:

  • When developing such contracts, parties work with an experienced contract attorney to ensure that the written agreement will be legally binding and will not include loopholes that can let other parties out of the agreed-upon obligations.
  • Before signing a contract, a party has an experienced contract lawyer review the terms of the contract to ensure that all of the party’s rights and interests are sufficiently protected.

Not consulting an attorney can result in various contract disputes or problems down the line and could even end up costing an individual or business a lot of money – and some professional relationships – in the future.

Q: What should I do if I’ve been accused of breach of contract?

A: Talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can determine whether a breach of contract has, in fact, occurred and what you should do to defend yourself against such allegations. Waiting to meet with an attorney can only end up hurting you in the future, especially if the party alleging that you are in breach is intent on pursuing legal action against you.

While these breach of contract FAQs provide some helpful answers, don’t hesitate to contact Downey & Associates, PC for answers to all of your questions regarding contracts.

While these breach of contract FAQs provide some helpful answers, don’t hesitate to contact Downey & Associates, PC for answers to all of your questions regarding contracts.

Q: What is a “material breach”?

A: A material breach refers to one party’s failure to perform according to the terms of the contract. With this type of breach of contract, the failure to perform generally needs to be significant enough to render the contract “irreparably broken” and, thus, compromise the agreement at its very core.

A material breach of contract may also be referred to as a “total breach,” and when this occurs, one party may either terminate the contract (i.e., end the official agreement) or seek legal recourse through the courts.

If legal recourse is sought by one party, the court will typically look to the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, as well as case precedent, for guidance on how to rule on the alleged breach. This Restatement (Second) of Contracts specifically reads as follows:

“In determining whether a failure to render or to offer performance is material, the following circumstances are significant: (a) the extent to which the injured party will be deprived of the benefit which he reasonably expected; (b) the extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the part of that benefit of which he will be deprived; (c) the extent to which the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will suffer forfeiture; (d) the likelihood that the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will cure his failure, taking account of all the circumstances including any reasonable assurances; (e) the extent to which the behavior of the party failing to perform or to offer to perform comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.”

If you believe that a party is in material breach of a contract, consult an experienced attorney for more information about the issue and your options.

Q: What is a “minor” breach?

A: Also referred to as partial breach or immaterial breach, a minor breach of contract refers to a type of breach that is less severe than a material breach but can still give one party recourse for damages.

For example, if a contract stipulated that a contractor was supposed to use X when building a house and, instead, Y was used, then there may be a minor breach of contract. If, however, Y ultimately has the same function and durability as X, there may be issues collecting damages for the minor breach.

When a minor breach of contract is suspected, consult an attorney to find out if you may be entitled to damages for the breach.

If you suspect a party is in breach of contract or you have been accused of breach of contract, contact Downey & Associates, PC for superior legal service and representation.

If you suspect a party is in breach of contract or you have been accused of breach of contract, contact Downey & Associates, PC for superior legal service and representation.

Q: I believe another party is in breach of contract. What should I do?

A: It’s best to consult an attorney if you think that another party is in breach of contract. There are typically strict timeframes for seeking legal action against parties that are in breach of contract, and consulting a lawyer as soon as possible will likely give you more options for recourse and possible reparations.

Q: What types of damages can I expect from a breach of contract?

A: When it has been established that a breach of contract has occurred, the party that has been damaged or suffered any losses due to this breach will typically be entitled to monetary compensation (the amount of which will depend on the specific costs of the losses caused by the breach of contract).

In cases in which monetary damages won’t or can’t sufficiently compensate a party for the damage caused by the breach of contract, the court (or the attorneys for both parties) will try to work out some type of award or agreement that can better compensate the plaintiff for his losses.

Q: How long will it take to resolve my case?

A: There is no quick answer to this question. While some cases involving a breach of contract can be resolved relatively quickly (when, for instance, both parties can come to an agreement on how to resolve the issue), in many cases, it will take some time to reach a successful resolution.

The bottom line here is that, regardless of how long it may take, having an attorney fighting for your interests and rights will be critical to resolving breach of contract cases as favorably and efficiently as possible.

Denver Contract Dispute Lawyer at Downey & Associates, PC

If you need help with resolving a contract-related issue, you can count on Denver Contract Dispute Lawyer Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service and representation.

Our dedication to our clients, coupled with our extensive experience handling complex matters of contract and business law, means that our clients can always trust that we will aggressively protect their rights and help them achieve the best possible outcomes to their sensitive legal matters.

We have the integrity, experience and resources necessary to ensure that you will receive the highest level of personal service, the highest quality legal services and, ultimately, the best possible resolution to your case.

Contact Us Today

We encourage you to learn more about your rights and options, as well as our various services, by calling us at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. From our law offices in Centennial, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.

Categories: Blog, Breach of Contract, Contracts