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Do You Have a Case? The 4 Elements of a Breach of Contract

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Before you starting writing a demand letter of preparing to sue someone, you need to make sure you have a strong case. To win a contract dispute, you’ll need to establish four separate facts: Formation, performance, breach and damages. Below is a definition of each element and how to legally prove them.



Do you have an actual contract with the defendant? If not, you can’t successfully sue them. Some litigants overlook this crucial first step in building their breach of contract case. You might feel that your opponent made you a promise or wish that their statements were a contract, but yours feelings aren’t legal precedents
Your contract doesn’t have to be written, although that will help your case. If you have an oral contract, that’s enforceable for more legal situations. A lawyer can help you determine If your state’s jurisdiction will recognize your verbal agreement. If you got to court, the judge will ask you to explain what you and your defendant verbally promised each other. Your opponent will also be questioned; many defendants have accidentally admitted to a binding contract in court.
If you have a written contract, you should consider the “four corners” doctrine. This means that the corners of your written contract are the only binding parts. If the defendant promised out loud to give you an extra $500 after signing the contract, the judge might not even let you testify. You have amended the written contract instead of replying on your opponent.



Did you fulfill the terms of the contract? If you had a contract to deliver written software code in exchange for payment and you only brought half of the code, you didn’t life up to your part of the bargain. You won’t have a very successful law suit. If your case makes it to court, bring any proof you have that you fulfilled your obligations.



Did the defendant fail to uphold their end of the contract? You wouldn’t be suing them if they hadn’t, But you must prove their failure in court. In some situations, the responsibility lies on them to prove they met the contract. If you purchased 800 bags of candy from someone and claim they only delivered 500, they should bring a signed receipt showing you accepted the 800 bags from them. You could bring the person who accepted the delivery to testify that the order was lost.



How did the defendant’s actions hurt you> Many contract dispute lawsuits fail at this stage. Someone can inconvenience or frustrate you without giving you grounds to sue them. If you received your missing 300 bags of candy a day later, did that hurt you? Maybe if you had sold out of the 500 bags and needed additional inventory, but that probably didn’t happen. If you promised to pay the delivery company $1,000 and only gave them $400 because they were a day late, they could have grounds to sue you over $600.00USD in damages.



A Licensed attorney can help you determine if your case meets all four of the requirements. You can also consult a law firm for helping gather evidence, filing a case, and presenting your argument in court. With a legal advisor and these four elements, you’ll have a good shot at winning your breach of contract case.





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