Breach of a contract refers to the violation of the terms of an agreement by one or more parties to a contract. Violating the terms of a contract may involve failing to fulfill obligations one has under the contract or interfering with the rights of the other party or their ability to fulfill their obligations. 

When a party to a contract breaches the agreement, the other side can take the dispute to court in a breach of contract lawsuit. If you find yourself in a potential breach of contract situation, you should understand your rights and what you might expect from a breach of contract lawsuit. 

When is a Contract Formed?

In order to succeed in a breach of contract lawsuit, the party claiming that a breach has occurred must first prove the existence of a contract between the two sides. The basic legal requirements of a valid contract include:

  • There has been a “meeting of the minds” between the parties regarding the essential terms of the agreement -- both parties agree as to the content of those terms and that they will abide by those terms.
  • The contract is secured by consideration, or the exchange of some value between the parties -- usually an exchange of money for goods or services, but it can also be an exchange of a promise to do something in exchange for a promise not to do something or to give up a right.
  • Both parties had legal capacity to enter the contract (e.g., they were not minors or suffered from mental illness) and did so knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.

To prove that a contract has been breached, the party bringing suit must explain how the other side failed to live up to the terms of the agreement. Usually, the party filing suit must also show that they themselves have not breached the contract.

What Happens After Breach of a Contract?

After one party is accused of breaching the contract, the other side may either try to enforce the breaching party’s obligation to perform under the contract, or they may seek financial compensation for losses they have incurred under the contract. Parties may choose to resolve their dispute either through informal negotiation between them or by engaging in formal dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation or arbitration (especially if required under the terms of the contract).

However, in some cases, a party’s sole recourse to enforce their rights may lie in filing a lawsuit in court. 

What Are Your Options After a Breach of Contract?

Breaches of contract are categorized in one of two ways: a non-material breach, which does not excuse the other party from their obligation to continue performing under the contract, or a material breach, which does excuse the other party’s performance and usually results in the termination of the contractual relationship. 

In a breach of contract lawsuit, the aggrieved party may have up to three remedies available to them:

  • Damages - A damages remedy means that the aggrieved party receives compensation for the financial losses that they have incurred because of the breach
  • Specific performance - In a specific performance remedy, the court orders the breaching party to fulfill their obligations under the contract
  • Cancellation and restitution - This remedy effectively terminates the contract and seeks to put both parties to the agreement in the position (financially and otherwise) they were in before entering the contract 

Contact a Rochelle Park Lawyer to Discuss Your Breach of Contract Case in New Jersey

Did you sustain serious losses due to someone else breaching a contractual agreement in New Jersey? Don’t let your losses pile up while you wait for the other party to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.