The average person makes contracts nearly every week. Unless you work with contracts regularly, you may not be familiar with all the types of contracts that you enter into in your daily life. Most of American contract laws come from England. The law refers to these laws as “common law.” How a party enters into a contract has changed dramatically since then. The basic principles remain the same – if there is an offer, acceptance and consideration the contract is valid, and breaking the contract comes with consequences. At Freundlich & Littman, LLC, we are your breach of contract lawyers. We service the greater Philadelphia area and are here to assist you.
What Is a Breach of Contract?
To breach of contract means to violate the terms of an agreement. Contracts can be either oral or written. In the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, both oral and written contracts are acceptable and legally enforceable. Breaches of contracts can occur in either type of contracts.
To illustrate this concept better, take employment contracts. Employment contracts often come with a non-compete clause or even a separate contract altogether. These contracts typically state that you will not work for a competitor while an employee with the business that you work for. If you work for a company that manufactures and develops software for filing taxes, taking on freelance work with another company that would breach the contract.
Types of Typical Contracts
There are some contracts that an individual typically comes across. A party can breach these contracts for a number of reasons.
Employment contracts are a common contract. Most people sign these contracts when they first start or relatively soon afterward. These contracts could be non-compete agreements during or after employment.
Trust us – you sign theses all the time. Every website that you sign up for and every update on your cell phone will require you to click the “Agree to Terms” button. Those terms that no one ever reads are a contract. Clicking that you agree is essentially signing your name on the proverbial dotted line.
Whether you signed up for student loans for graduate school or a home mortgage, loans are contracts. In exchange for money, you agree to payments with interest over the next 20 to 30 years.
You may own your own business or work for a business that uses outside vendors for supplies or services. If you do, you probably enter into contacts on behalf of your company. What happens if something goes wrong and the goods or services are not what was promised?
How Do I Know When I Breached a Contract?
Most times, a well-written contract will include a list of things that will breach the contract. If you ever need to know what terms break the contract, you should look first to the contract that you signed. There will likely be several clauses on breaches.
If the terms are not explicit, there are some general things that will breach a contract. For an employment contract for an actor or actress, the actor or actress will commit to temporary employment for as long as the project takes. If that project is a play, for instance, refusal to perform in the play, missing performances, or accepting a role in another play is a breach of contract.
For mortgages or other personal loans, a breach can occur if you stop making payments during a repayment period. The economic crises of the last few years have made it difficult to repay loans on time. If you meet with your loan provider to discuss or refinance a loan, it does not put your loan in breach of contract. This simply allows the parties to a contract the ability to renegotiate the terms of the contract.
Parties to a contract can always agree to either relieve the other of the terms of the contract or cancel the contract the contract altogether. A breach occurs when only one party to the contract decides to stop performing according to the terms of the contract.
Consequences of a Breach of Contract
Breaches of contract occur quite often, perhaps more often than people realize. More often than not, the breach is small and the parties both agree that it is not worth fighting over. If you miss or are late on a payment for a loan, chances are that your loan provider will not find you in total breach of the contract. Many providers allow grace periods for their customers to settle up all their past due amounts. It is major breaches that normally get noticed. In commercial contracts, the contract will list out consequences for a breach of contract.
Again, contract law is not always clear, so we have simplified the law for the sake of brevity and clarity. Breaches of contracts have consequences. If you are thinking of breaching a contract or you think someone has breached a contract, contact the experienced contract attorneys at Freundlich & Littman today at 215-545-8500.
Contractual litigation can be very extremely complicated. If you find yourself the victim of a breach, your option to recover damages is to sue. Suing over contracts is complex. It is advised that you have well-seasoned contract attorneys fighting for you. We at Freundlich & Littman are here to handle your contract disputes and breaches. Call us today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.