When either party to a contract fails to fulfill their agreed upon duties as stated in the contract's terms, there is likely a breach of contract. In some instances both parties are in breach of contract, but if one party has not committed a breach, they could be entitled to receive the value that would have been theirs under the original contractual terms. They will typically be excused from fulfilling their end of the contractual agreement (i.e. paying for services).
In some cases, both parties have breached the contract. For instance, in a contract for the sale of goods one party to the contract might fail to consider merchandise as agreed and the other party to the contract might provide payment in a lower amount than originally agreed at the same time. Both parties are in breach of contract.
In some cases where a breach of contract exists, it may be possible to recover damages. Damages received are intended to restore the economic status of the breaching party to the state it was in prior to the breach of contract. The breaching party bears the burden of showing the extent of the damage incurred by the breach. The breaching party cannot typically recover damages of the damages were foreseeable and, therefore, could have been avoided. It is also not usually possible for the breaching party to recover damages if the damages incurred are specifically prohibited according to their original contract.
Many experiencing a breach of contract dispute wonder if it is necessary to hire an attorney. Regardless of whether you are the party in breach of contract or the party suing for breach of contract or if both parties to the contract have committed a breach, it is a good idea to consult a professional. A business attorney experienced in contract law and knowledgeable about the law specific to your case's jurisdiction can assist you in determining the validity of the breach of contract claim. Even if you are the party in breach of contract, you could still recover damages if you suffered economic loss due to the breach. With the assistance of a good business attorney, it is easier to determine the best course of action for the specific situation.
If you would like to discuss breach of contract claims further, please contact one of the experienced business attorneys at southern California's The Law Office of Retz & Aldover LLP.