You enter into many contracts in many contexts in your personal and professional life. When things go well, the agreements benefit you, paving the way for you to receive a house or a car in exchange for monthly payments. But when things go awry and the deal falls apart, it can cause significant financial and legal headaches.
If you’re in this situation, you may wonder, How much can you sue for a breach of contract? The answer depends on many factors, such as whether you can prove the elements of a breach of contract case, the terms of the contract, and the applicable law.
Aaron Bensinger and Christopher Jackson of Bensinger Legal Services are fierce and knowledgeable advocates. As experienced Ohio contract lawyers, we leverage our many years of experience to help develop a winning strategy and maximize the breach of contract settlement amount our clients receive.
What Are the Elements of a Breach of Contract Case?
So, how much can you sue for in your breach of contract case? The first step in making this determination is to ensure you can satisfy the elements of the claim.
To have a valid breach of contract claim, you need to show the following:
- You and the breaching party entered into a valid contract. This means that the contract was lawfully entered into, supported by consideration, enforceable, and met the requirements of the Ohio statute of frauds.
- The other party breached or failed to meet their obligations under the contract. You also need to show that the breach was material and spoke to the heart of the agreement.
- You either followed through on your contractual obligations or were ready to if the breach hadn’t occurred. For example, you deposited the escrow amount and took steps to procure a loan to cover the remaining cost of a house.
- Because of the other party’s breach, you suffered damages. For example, you gave the breaching party funds on the promise that they would satisfy their end of the bargain.
In addition, you also need to bring the case within the applicable statute of limitations to be able to recover. For most contracts in writing, Ohio law requires you to bring a claim within six years. If the agreement is not in writing, you typically must file a claim within four years to comply with Ohio law.
A breach of contract attorney can help you understand and prove the elements of a breach of contract case. The strength of your case can heavily influence the compensation for which you may be eligible.
What Breach of Contract Damages Can I Sue for in a Lawsuit?
Many types of damages are available to plaintiffs for a breach of contract. Let’s review some of the most common.
Where applicable, Ohio law allows parties to recover damages to compensate them for the losses they incurred because of the breach. Included within compensatory damages are two types: expectation and reliance damages.
Expectation damages are the loss of the benefit you expected to receive had the deal gone as planned. This category of damages puts you in the position you would have been in had the breaching party performed.
Reliance damages compensate you for the costs you incurred in reliance on the other party following through with their promise under the contract. One goal of reliance damages is to put you in the position you would have occupied had you never entered the agreement.
In some cases, parties agree on a predetermined amount of damages the non-breaching party will receive if the contract doesn’t occur as planned. This type of award is called liquidated damages.
For example, if the buyer submits a deposit for a house, the buyer may receive the money back if the seller backs out of the deal. Likewise, if the buyer breaches the contract, the seller may be entitled to keep the deposit.
Consequential damages flow from the at-fault party’s breach but aren’t necessarily direct consequences. For example, let’s say the buyer purchased replacement goods or services at additional cost because the seller failed to deliver. In that scenario, the buyer may be entitled to reimbursement in whole or part for this additional cost to mitigate the damages caused by the breach.
In rare instances, financial awards may be insufficient to compensate the non-breaching party. In these limited situations, forcing the breaching party to perform may be the only equitable remedy. Note that specific performance is exceptionally uncommon, typically reserved for contracts involving truly unique goods.
How Do You Calculate the Breach of Contract Compensation You Can Receive?
Calculating damages in a breach of contract case depends on the award you seek and are entitled to. For example, if you paid a deposit for the goods or services, this may be the total amount of the damages available. But, in other situations, you might be entitled to additional compensation, even if you paid a deposit.
Your efforts to mitigate or limit your financial losses also affect the amount of damages you can receive. A contract attorney can help you understand and maximize the compensation available to you.
Contact Our Ohio Breach of Contract Attorneys
Our experienced Ohio contract lawyers can help you sue a company or individual for breach of contract and protect your legal rights under the agreement.
We provide outstanding dedication and personal service to our clients. Our team treats our clients like people, not dollar signs. We will work tirelessly to tailor the best strategy for your situation. Our team believes everyone deserves a fair shot, and we aim to give everyone just that.