How to Know When Your Business Contract Is Materially Breached in Washington State

Business contracts can be complicated. If you have a contract that is not being completely fulfilled by the other party, does that constitute a breach? Is your contract materially breached, allowing you to pursue compensation for damages suffered? If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, it’s time to seek the advice of a Bellingham attorney experienced in handling breach of contract issues.

A nonmaterial breach of contract entitles the nonbreaching party to recover actual damages suffered. If the breach of contract is a material breach,  then you are entitled to either force the breaching party to perform the required obligations under the contract or to pay for the damages you have suffered as a result of the default.  To determine whether your contract is materially breached, consider the following questions:

  • Did the other party deprive you of the whole agreement? – For instance, if a car dealership promised a CD changer in the vehicle you bought but you drive your car home only to find out there wasn’t one, that may be considered a partial breach of contract (although you could demand that the dealer remedy the partial breach and include the feature in your car). If the dealer essentially gave you a completely different vehicle than the one you were promised, the whole agreement would be in breach.
  • Can you be reasonably compensated? – If the answer is no, then you’re looking at a true breach of contract, allowing you to terminate the agreement legally with no penalty. But if the breach can be fixed, such as the car dealer adding the CD changer, it is likely not a material breach.
  • How much will the breaching party lose as a result? – It’s always best to file a claim with your qualified Bellingham breach of contract attorney before the defaulting party has taken significant action to fix the breach. If you fail to do so, the court may look unfavorably at you, wondering why you didn’t file sooner.

There are many things to consider when facing the prospect of a breach of contract. To fully understand the issues surrounding your unique matter, contact us at the offices of Adelstein, Sharpe & Serka LLP for answers. We offer confidential consultations.

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