What are the damages for a breach of contract?

If you run a business, drafting and signing contracts are a part of everyday operations. If the world were perfect, we could all just agree and take one another at our words. But in the real world delays are inevitable, financial issues arise and sometimes people go back on their promises. When someone does breach a contract, the court allows the wronged party to be made whole again.

During a contract dispute, both parties can try to work out a compromise, but if they fail, one side may need to file a breach of contract lawsuit. If they do take the matter to trial, there are several remedies the courts could award:

  • Compensatory damages attempt to replace what the non-breaching party lost in the breach.
  • Liquidated damages are damages that were spelled out in the contract beforehand to be awarded in the case of a breach.
  • Punitive damages seek to punish the party that breached the contract and are awarded on top of any compensatory damages.
  • Nominal damages can be awarded when the wronged party can prove a breach occurred but cannot prove that any actual monetary damage was done.

What if the object or asset in question is unique and irreplaceable? The courts may decide to award what's called a "specific performance." Say one party agreed to sell a "x" property and then backed out. Since there is no other property like "x" property, the courts may choose to force the breaching party to go through with the sale.

If you feel that someone has breached a contract and you suffered damages, you may want to think about sitting down with a business law attorney.

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