More than likely, when you enter into a contract with another party, you fully intend to fulfill your end of the bargain and expect the other party to do the same. In fact, things may proceed as planned for some time before they begin to go wrong.
Whether your company provides the goods and services in exchange for payment, or the other way around, you diligently adhered to the terms of the contract, but the other party didn't. Your efforts at an amicable resolution of the situation failed, and now you face taking the other party to court for breach of contract. What types of damages can you expect if you successfully prove that the other party failed to live up to his or her agreements and your business suffered because of it?
When a Texas court awards money damages in a breach of contract case, the damages fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Compensatory damages provide the money necessary for the injured party, you, to go elsewhere to get the goods or services you expected to get in the contract with the other party.
- Liquidated damages provide you with the monies promised by the other party in the contract for your goods or services.
- Restitution is akin to a refund of the money you gave to the other party for goods or services you did not receive.
- Courts often reserve punitive damages for cases in which it is deemed that the other party's actions are morally reprehensible.
- Courts award nominal damages when you didn't suffer any significant harm, but a breach of your contract did occur.
- Quantum meruit damages provide you with the portion of money that you earned from the contract before the other party breached it.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could receive one or more of these types of monetary damages.
In some cases, money just isn't enough to fix the problem caused by the breach. In those instances, the court may award the following:
- If the goods or services that you were to receive from the contract are unique, the court may order the other party to deliver them. This remedy is referred to as specific performance.
- If appropriate, the court may cancel the contract and relieve both parties of their obligations under it.
What relief do you need?
If you find yourself in a situation where the other party to your contract breached it somehow, you may be able to negotiate a resolution outside of court, or you may need to litigate. In both cases, it is important that you have legal guidance to achieve a favorable outcome. You may need assistance in determining just what kind of relief you would like the court to award you in order to rectify the situation. Before you can receive any damages, however, you will need to provide the court with the appropriate evidence of the alleged breach. Doing so generally requires help from an attorney with experience in business litigation.