You and your business rely on the contracts and other agreements entered into during the course of business. As an Atlanta contract disputes attorney handling many breach of contract cases, the most frequent question I hear time and again from clients is what damages are available due to a breach of contract. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily an easy question to answer without knowing the specifics of the contract at issue and the breach you are wanting to pursue. That being said, there are some general breach of contract principles that may help.
In breach of contract actions, the law seeks to place the parties back in the same position they would have been in had the contract not been breached. This means the damages to the non-breaching party is compensation for the loss caused by the breach–in other words compensation to put the non-breaching party back in the position it would have been in had the contract not been breached. If compensation will not place the non-breaching party in the position it would have been in had the contract not been breached, then the non-breaching party would need to sue for specific performance of the contract. This is an action to force the breaching party to perform all obligations of the contract.
In traditional breach of contract cases, the non-breaching party may have a right to consequential damages as well. Consequential damages are damages which are the result of the breach, such as lost revenue or the loss of property. These damages cannot be based on pure speculation, which makes loss of revenue sometimes difficult to obtain.
In addition to compensatory and consequential damages, your contract may provide for the award of attorney’s fees and costs of litigation. Every contract we draft contains these provisions. Even if you do not have the right pursuant to the terms of the contract to these damages, you still may be able to recover them as a result of the breaching parties actions during litigation.
Finally, many clients do not realize that punitive damages, damages to punish the breaching party, are not recoverable in breach of contract actions. These damages are recoverable in tort actions such as personal injury claims or business disputes where there are tort claims involved, such as tortious interference with business relationships or tortious interference with contract.
As an Atlanta contract dispute lawyer, it is important to review the contract language, get the facts surrounding the breach and what then analyze what remedies are available to the client as a result are the first steps in properly representing individuals and business owners in Georgia.