Contracts are essential in business, governing sales, services, debt payments, and employment. They make business transactions seamless and predictable. Unfortunately, not everyone follows through with their contractual obligations, and this failure often results in a lawsuit.
Most business litigation entails a breach of contract claim. To successfully prove their case, a plaintiff must demonstrate four crucial elements. Working with Kendal Law Group’s business and estate planning attorneys in Michigan enhances your chances of success in your lawsuit. They can evaluate your case and ensure you have a strong case against the defendant.
How Can I Prove That Someone Breached a Contract?
For an alleged breach of contract claim to be valid, four crucial elements must exist. Understanding them is crucial, and Kendal Law Group PC’s Bloomfield Hills contract disputes attorneys can explain what they mean and how they apply to your claim.
1. A Valid Contract Must Exist
An invalid contract can’t be enforced, hence the need to prove its validity to move forward with the breach of contract claim. In Michigan, agreements can be written or implied, but enforcing a written agreement is always easier.
The contract must then comprise the following components:
- Offer and acceptance: One party must create an offer then the other party accepts. The offer and approval must be detailed and clear enough to enable the court to quickly determine what the parties are exchanging. The court can’t enforce a contract with some indefinite terms.
- Mutuality of agreement: The parties to a contract must understand what they’re agreeing to and be ready to be bound by it. The court will assess the language to determine what the parties understood by the contract. It may enforce the agreement if the language is unambiguous.
- Competency of the parties and legality of the contract: Parties to a contract must be capable of understanding the contents of the contract. It might not be enforceable if one party was mentally incapacitated, coerced into the agreement, or under 18. The contract must be legal to be enforceable.
- Consideration: A contract must benefit the parties involved in one way or another.
2. The Plaintiff Fulfilled Their Legal Obligation
In proving your breach of contract claim, you must show that you fulfilled the “essential obligations” defined in the contract. The defendant may argue that you didn’t perform or do what you said you would do. In that case, Kendal Law Group, your contract disputes attorneys in Bloomfield Hills can help you prove that you have a valid reason for nonperformance if you failed in part.
3. The Defendant Didn’t Fulfill Their Legal Obligation
Another element that your Bloomfield Hills contract dispute lawyers will help you prove is that the other party breached the contract by failing to meet their obligations as defined in the contract. Not performing according to the agreement can be a breach under the following categories:
- A minor breach of the contract: For example, if a contract specifies a date of delivery for a product, but a reasonable delay occurs, that can be considered a minor breach of the contract. If the party is still willing to perform by delivering the product, the breach doesn’t affect the heart of the agreement and hence may not be a material breach.
- Material breach of contract: If one party fails to perform their contractual obligations and causes harm to the other party, the harmed party can recover damages arising from the breach.
- Substantial performance: In this case, one party’s performance is close to what was required but still falls short. The failing party may be required to compensate the other party for the substantial performance, also known as immaterial breach of contract.
- Anticipatory breach: One party may indicate that they won’t fulfill their contractual obligations through words, actions, or both. In terms of compensation for damages, the consequences may be the same as those of material breach.
4. The Plaintiff Incurred Damages Due to the Breach
To determine damages arising from a contractual breach, the court must look closely at the contract’s terms.
Contracts often indicate potential penalties for breaching them, but if none exist, the court may consider awarding the following:
- Compensation for time lost due to the breach
- Recovery of the expenses incurred by the plaintiff while executing their contractual obligations
- Specific performance of the contract
- Money lost due to the breach
- Compensation for future time or expenses that will be lost due to the breach
- Other damages the court determines appropriate based on the terms of the contract.
If all these factors are present in your breach of contract claim, you may have solid grounds to pursue legal action. If you have specific questions regarding a potential contract violation, it’s best to consult Kendal Law Group and our Bloomfield Hills contract dispute attorneys before taking any legal action.
How Long Do You Have to File a Breach of Contract Claim in Michigan?
If you have suffered damages from a breach of contract and wish to pursue damages, it’s crucial to act quickly. That is because the statute of limitations in Michigan for contract-related cases gives you up to six years to file most claims from the date of the breach.
However, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Michigan contract law, which provides different limitation periods for specific types of contracts. The period ranges from two to ten years, and it would help to consult a contract attorney to understand the limitations that apply to your case.
Seek Legal Help from a Skilled Michigan Contract Law Attorney
When one party breaches a business contract, their action may lead to costly damages to the other party or parties involved in the agreement. Recovering damages may require legal action, which can be lengthy and complex. The four elements of a contract must be proved to make the lawsuit successful. Working with dedicated contract dispute lawyers is crucial.
At our Michigan law firm, we provide practical, strategic, and personalized representation for clients in contract dispute cases. We have represented individuals and businesses of all types and sizes and can aggressively fight to protect your business interests. Contact us to schedule a FREE in-depth strategy session.