Did I really breach our contract?

Construction projects can be massive undertakings. This is particularly true when they involve commercial buildings, major renovations or any project involving several parties. Considering all these moving parts, it can be easy for disputes to arise regarding delays, materials or incomplete work.

Parties can avoid or at least minimize these disputes with a clear, enforceable contract. However, even with a contract in place, you can face claims of a contract breach and possible legal action. In many cases, parties disagree on whether the breach occurred in the first place, so following is some information to help you examine whether you (or someone else) actually breached a contract.

Below are the elements that should be in place to support claims of a breach of contract.

  1. A valid contract exists. This contract must be enforceable and signed by both parties. There should be no claims of fraud, duress or unconscionability.
  2. One party failed to fulfill his or her end of the contract. If you fail to comply with the requirements, perform work or meet the requirements specified in the contract, that failure would be a breach.
  3. That breach was material, or major. Insignificant, minor breaches may not have an impact on the fulfillment of the contract and therefore, may not be cause for legal action. However, if the breach was major and essentially defeats the purpose of a contract, then it would be grounds for a legal claim.
  4. The breach caused damages. Material breaches will almost certainly cause damage for the non-breaching party. This might include loss of business, added costs to address improper work and/or other expenses stemming from an unfulfilled contract.

After considering these basic elements, you should get some idea of whether a breach occurred and warrants legal action. If it does, then there will be a number of ways to address and resolve the issue. This could involve payment of damages and restitution, fulfillment of promised work or cancellation of the contract.

Whether you are accused of breaching a contract or have been impacted by another party's breach of a contract, it can be crucial that you have legal representation to help you resolve the issue in a fair and timely manner.

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