Breach of Contract Laws in Illinois
People enter into contracts on a daily basis. In fact, you’ve probably entered into a contract today without even knowing it. For example, if you stopped by a coffee shop and paid for a cup of coffee, you’ve entered an agreement with that establishment. The onus now falls on the coffee shop to hold up its end of the agreement and give you a cup of coffee. If one party fails to uphold their agreement, legal ramifications can ensue.
Types of Contracts
Odds are you are actually entered into more contracts than you realize. Do you have a mortgage? You’re in a contract with your bank. Do you have a credit card? You’re in a contract with the credit card company. Do you deal with sensitive or private information at your job? You’re likely in a confidentiality agreement with your employer.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of contracts a person can enter into. Some of the more common contracts that are brought to court for breach of contract include:
- Non-disclosure/Business-employee contracts
- Real estate transactions
- Any lease agreement
- Business-to-business contracts
- Service contracts (cable, telephone, etc.)
- Purchase of goods
How a Contract is Formed
For a contract to be formed, there needs to be an offer by one party, acceptance by the other party, and “consideration” that is exchanged. While “consideration” is most often an exchange of goods or services in return for money, it does not have to be. For example, in return for cleaning the ice between every period, the Chicago Blackhawks could agree to pay Bob’s Zamboni Company by having Patrick Kane or Jonathon Toews give Bob’s kids skating lessons.
A contract doesn’t have to be written and witnessed by a third party to be considered legal. While it can be professionally drafted, contracts can be legally binding if they are written on the back of a napkin or simply orally stated. However, it is important to bear in mind that unwritten contacts are considerably harder to prove in court. If something is important enough to you to expend a significant amount of time, effort, or money acquiring it, then you should have a written contract drawn up to identify the transaction.
The important thing courts look for in determining a contract is that there was “a benefit of the bargain”. Both parties gave up something in return for gaining something.
Breaching a Contract
A breach occurs if a party fails to uphold their end of the bargain. If one party wants to pursue a breach of contract lawsuit, the onus is on that party to prove the contract has been broken. In order to be successful in a broken contract lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove:
- There exists a valid and legally binding contract; and
- One party failed to uphold their end of the bargain; and
- The party who suffered the breach of contract incurred damages, be it extra costs or lost revenue.
Breach of Contract Defense in Illinois
There are many ways a person or company can challenge a breach of contract lawsuit. Some of the most common defenses include:
- Challenging the legality of the supposed contract
- Proving no damages occurred as a result of the breach
- Claiming the contract contained deceptive or misleading information
Naperville Breach of Contract Lawyer
Whether you’ve been served for breach of contract, or you want to sue someone for failing to uphold their portion of the deal, feel free to contact the experienced attorneys at Appelman Law. Also, if you’re thinking of drafting a contract, or simply want to have a legal mind review a contract before you sign it, we can help with that too. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.