When Should I Hire a Lawyer for Breach of Contract?

May 20, 2024 | Tips on Contracts

Is a company or person you’re doing business with failing to fulfill their obligations outlined in a contract you signed before your transactions started?

If you answered “yes,” there’s a good chance the person or business is in breach of the agreement. When a contract is broken, you, the aggrieved party, could lose a lot of money or incur other losses. 

To safeguard your rights and interests, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced breach of contract lawyer soon after a party doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain in a contract. This is especially true if your concerns regarding their non-delivery are not being taken seriously.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the specific responsibilities a breach of contract attorney can conduct on your behalf in a contract dispute – including contract analysis, negotiation, mediation, and litigation.

3 Key Roles of Lawyers in Breach of Contract Cases

Contract Analysis

We’ve dealt with hundreds of cases at Gallagher Krich, APC, involving breached contracts related to sales, employment, real estate purchases, non-disclosure, etc.

When a client comes to us with a breach of contract situation, one of the first things we do is carefully review the contract in question, examining the terms and conditions stated therein to determine the rights and obligations of each party.

This allows us to quickly ascertain the validity and enforceability of the contract as well as whether and to what extent a breach has occurred. 

Based on our observations, most breaches of contract happen in one of three ways:

  • Minor Breach of Contract

A minor breach of contract happens when you agree to buy products from a supplier, for example, and they deliver the items later than expected.

In this scenario, the supplier fulfilled their essential obligation, stated in the contract, but failed to meet minor requirements – like the delivery date in the above case. Should the delay result in significant financial losses, you may pursue legal action against the supplier to recover damages.

  • Material Breach of Contract

These make up the majority of cases involving contract breaches. They arise when one party entirely neglects to carry out an important duty under a contract, preventing the party who is being wronged from getting what was promised. 

For instance, if you hire a contractor to renovate your home and you both agree that they should install 1/2-inch water pipes for your bathroom sinks, faucets, etc., but they install 1-inch pipes used for larger water lines, this constitutes a material breach of contract, and you may terminate the construction contract and seek compensation.

  • Anticipatory Breach of Contract

Let’s imagine you sign a contract with John, and he tells you shortly after that he won’t be fulfilling his end of the agreement or acts in a way that makes it seem likely that he isn’t going to deliver—for example, by not starting work on the agreed project.

The above could be deemed as an anticipatory breach of contract.

Leading Efforts to Get a Speedy Resolution

Often, attorneys try to settle a breach of contract disagreement through settlement talks and negotiation before taking the matter to court. 

For all parties engaged in a contract dispute, this strategy can limit the interruption to their personal and business lives, save time, and lower legal expenses.

Your lawyer may send a demand letter, which outlines all parties’ contractual obligations, the conditions that were not fulfilled, suggests possible resolutions by a certain date, and notifies the other party that you intend to sue if a settlement cannot be reached, as the initial formal act in swiftly resolving a breach of contract dispute.

Emails, calls, and other cordial attempts to notify the party in breach of their contractual responsibilities frequently come before the demand letter.

Following the issuance of a demand letter, three things could happen:

  • The party who violated the agreement accepts your demands, and both of you shortly after decide on how to resolve the contract dispute. To guarantee that both parties abide by the agreed-upon conditions, your attorney for breach of contract can prepare a settlement agreement.
  • While acknowledging receipt of your demand letter, the breaching party requests further discussions to establish a mutually acceptable solution. In that scenario, you might want to consider mediation.

In a mediation hearing, a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps to conduct talks aimed at completely resolving your contract issue. Participants in the mediation process include you, the party that breached the contract, attorneys representing the two sides, and the mediator.

Should the mediation be successful, lawyers for breach of contract can also assist in drafting the documentation necessary to validate the resolutions reached by the parties involved.

  • Your letter of demand is ignored or the at-fault party declines to comply with it. This can mean they don’t agree with your terms, or they aren’t giving your demands any thought.

Litigation: Pursuing Legal Remedies in Court

Litigation is the last resort if mediation is unsuccessful. It involves taking your breach of contract matter to the courtroom, where a judge or jury will consider the evidence presented and determine the appropriate course of action to solve it.

Naturally, this legal option is more costly and time-consuming, but it is required if the parties at fault dispute the breach of contract allegation, the parties at war can’t come to an agreement, or if the breach is significant, making it necessary for court intervention.

Your lawyer for breach of contract will handle several tasks during the litigation process, like:

  • Drafting and submitting legal paperwork, such as motions, complaints, and briefs, to initiate a lawsuit against the party responsible for the contract violation.
  • Conducting discovery, which involves deposing witnesses and exchanging relevant documents and information with the opposing counsel.
  • Presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making compelling legal arguments to support your claim of contract breach. In court, the plaintiff in a lawsuit must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a contract was broken.
  • Advocating for appropriate remedies, including monetary damages, specific performance, or contract revocation, based on the circumstances and seriousness of the breach.

The work of a breach of contract attorney does not always end with a successful judgment or settlement. It can be necessary for them to support their clients in enforcing the court’s ruling, ensuring all obligations are fulfilled and remedies are correctly applied.

This could entail keeping an eye on the breaching party’s compliance, taking further legal action if needed, or helping to collect damages that the court has awarded.

Note that in California, the time restriction for filing a lawsuit for a breach of written contract is four years from the date of contract violation, while the deadline for filing a claim for breach of oral contract is two years.

Do You Suspect a Breach of Contract? Gallagher Krich, APC, California Breach of Contract Attorneys Can Help!

Don’t hesitate to seek legal help if you think someone may have breached a contract with you, or if you’re in the middle of an agreement dispute in California. To figure out your best legal options, get in touch with Gallagher Krich, APC, right now for a free consultation with an experienced breach of contract lawyer.

Having accumulated over 30 years of legal experience between them, our team of attorneys has successfully handled hundreds of breach of contract cases involving sales contracts, real estate purchases, service contracts, disagreements between partners and shareholders, non-compete agreements, marriage settlements, contractor agreements, and more.

During your free consultation, we’ll assess your case and, should we discover a breach of contract, outline your legal options. Once the meeting is done, if you decide to retain us as your lawyer, we’ll do our best to protect your contract rights and get any compensation you’re entitled to as a result of the contract violation with the least amount of legal expense and inconvenience.

Call us at (858) 926-5797 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation today to discuss your particular breach of contract case and help you determine the best course of action.

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