Like so many business owners, you have worked hard to establish your company and make it a success. But now you’re facing a breach of contract dispute that impacts your bottom line and may harm your business. You’re feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do because disputes like this can be complex and confusing, especially if they go to court.
At PJI Law, PLC, our breach of contract team is here to help you take your legal headaches off your plate so you can focus on your business. In this blog post, we’ll explain what you need to know about breach of contract disputes in Virginia. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact us at (703) 865-6100 to receive personalized service and attention.
What is a Breach of Contract?
Contracts are legally binding agreements. A breach of contract by one or more parties can take many different forms. Some of the most common breaches involve one party failing to perform their obligations under the contract or failing to pay money that they owe under the contract. Breaches can also occur when one party makes a material change to the contract without the other party’s consent or when one party denies that the contract exists altogether.
What is Involved in Establishing a Breach of Contract?
There are typically three components involved in successful breach of contract claims. You must have the following:
- A legally enforceable contract
- Proof that the other party breached the agreement
- Evidence that you suffered damages as a result of the breach of contract
Options for Dealing with a Breach of Contract Dispute
If you are facing a breach of contract dispute, you have a few options. One option is to file a lawsuit against the other party. This is often a lengthy and expensive process, and there is no guarantee of success. Another option is to negotiate a resolution directly with the other party. This can be a quick and inexpensive way to resolve the dispute, but it is also not always possible to reach an agreement.
Lastly, you can choose a mediator or arbitrator to help you reach a resolution. This option can be more affordable than going to court, and it can also help to avoid a lengthy legal battle. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on the specific details of your case.
Defenses Against a Breach of Contract Claim
Depending on the specifics of your case, here are some defenses that may be available to you.
- There Was No Valid Contract. The first defense against a breach of contract claim is that there was no valid contract in the first place. For a contract to be valid, there must be an offer, acceptance, and consideration. If any of these elements are missing, then there is no contract.
- Acted Within Scope of Authority. A party accused of breaching a contract can claim that they acted within the scope of their authority. This defense applies when an agent or employee causes a breach while acting on behalf of their principal or employer. The agent or employee will not be held liable for the breach if it can be shown that they were authorized to take the action that led to the breach.
- Violation of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. A party might try to show that the other party violated an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Every contract contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which requires the parties to act honestly and fairly with respect to the contract. A party who can show that the other party violated this covenant may be excused from performing their obligations under the contract.
- Duress. Duress is another possible defense to a breach of contract claim. Duress occurs when one party uses threats or force to induce another party to enter into a contract against their will. An example would be if someone threatened to harm you unless you signed a contract.
Speak with an experienced Virginia breach of contract lawyer to discuss which defenses may apply in your case and how best to proceed.
Possible Damages for a Breach of Contract
Damages are the most common breach of contract remedy and may include:
- Compensatory Damages
- Punitive Damages
- Nominal Damages
- Liquidated Damages
- Ordinary or General Damages
Your breach of contract dispute lawyer can advise you on these types of damages and about pursuing equitable relief for your claim.
What Are Some Tips for Minimizing the Risk of a Breach of Contract Dispute?
If you are concerned about the possibility of a breach of contract dispute, there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk.
- First, be sure to clearly define the terms of the agreement in writing. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and provide a clear reference point if a dispute does arise.
- Second, choose a trustworthy counterpart with a good reputation for upholding their contractual obligations.
- Finally, seek experienced legal counsel who can help you navigate the contract negotiation process and protect your interests in case of a breach.
By taking these precautions, you can help to reduce the likelihood of a breach of contract dispute.
Dealing With a Breach of Contract Dispute? Contact a Northern Virginia Breach of Contract Lawyer
Although breach of contract claims are very common, they can also be complicated, especially when a business contract is involved. An experienced breach of contract lawyer can assist you by notifying the breaching party of the terms of the contract they are violating, attempting to negotiate a settlement of the breach if possible, and filing a lawsuit for you if this becomes necessary.
If you’re searching online for a “contract dispute lawyer near me,” we can help. At PJI Law, PLC, each client receives our complete dedication, personal attention, and courteous, white-glove service. Call our office at (703) 865-6100 or complete our online form to schedule your consultation to learn how our Fairfax, Virginia breach of contract legal team can help with your breach of contract dispute.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.