Calculating damages in a breach of contract case in Oklahoma is a little technical and takes some thinking. When someone violates a contract, the other parties to the agreement may suffer financial or other kinds of losses. Calculating the losses suffered in a breach situation can be complicated. Depending on the type contract and the kind of damage the requirement is different. The important thing to remember is that before a claim can be made against someone breaching a contract is that you must show damages. In the event you have damages and you have a breach of contract you may be entitled to recover attorney fees because of the breach. Read on to learn the basics of evaluating damages in an Oklahoma breach of contract in a business law case.
Types Of Breach Of Contract Damages
Ordinary damages are also known as general damages. They represent objective financial losses suffered by the plaintiff because the defendant breached the agreement. They are meant to restore the plaintiff to the financial position that they would have been in if the defendant had honored their obligations under the contract. Most commonly this type of damages is found in construction contracts or other service related contracts.
For example, suppose the plaintiff sold the defendant an asset. The agreement said that the item would be paid off in installments. The defendant misses the last three months of the payment plan at a rate of $1,000 per month. Ordinary or general damages here would be $3,000. The plaintiff would also calculate interest on the amount owed.
Special damages arise indirectly from the defendant’s failure to comply with the terms of a contract. Damages that are considered special cannot generally be calculated as an objective dollar value like ordinary damages can. When proving damages special damages can be the most difficult to calculate. Although more difficult to calculate this does not mean that this type of damage is not compensable.
If the plaintiff runs a grocery store and the defendant is a turkey supplier who agrees to supply a certain amount of turkeys for the holidays but fails to deliver. The plaintiff loses out on the sale of those turkeys. Additionally, because customers may go to other grocery stores for the rest of their holiday needs to avoid making two trips, this could cause the plaintiff to lose out on selling other items in addition to the turkeys. Compensating the store owner for the loss of these additional sales would be special damages situation.
Or suppose that the defendant has agreed to provide a home repair service for a plaintiff that must be completed before other scheduled services can be performed. The defendant fails to perform per the terms of the contract, and the plaintiff is forced to hire a replacement provider. If the contract does not contain a liquidated damages clause damages may include a hefty fee for last-minute schedules. The difference between the amount the plaintiff agreed to pay the defendant and how much the plaintiff had to pay the alternate service provider may be treated as special damages.
Sometimes a plaintiff’s rights are violated due to a breach of contract. These violations don’t necessarily cause financial loss or injury. If a plaintiff decides to sue for the breach of contract and they haven’t suffered financial loss, they may be awarded nominal damages instead of ordinary or special damages.
Exemplary damages are referred to as vindictive damages in Oklahoma. They are typically referred to as punitive damages in other states. The court awards them in an effort to deter the defendant (and possibly others) from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Exemplary damages are more likely to be awarded when a defendant has engaged in dishonorable or fraudulent conduct.
Suppose a plaintiff has sued a defendant for writing a bad check, but this isn’t the first time the defendant has faced accusations of this nature. The court decides to impose exemplary damages of $10,000 to set an example and discourage the defendant from writing bad checks in the future.
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From construction contracts to service contracts that were not performed as agreed you may have damages that are compensable. When you have damages that are articulable a business law attorney may be able to help you get what is owed to you. If you have any questions or need legal guidance regarding a breach situation, contact the Tulsa business attorneys at Kania Law Office by clicking here or at 918-743-2233 to schedule a complimentary consultation.