Damages for Breach of Contract Under Florida Law
When two parties enter into a contract in Florida, they both have certain expectations and obligations to fulfill. However, when one party fails to meet those obligations, a breach of contract occurs. In such a situation, the non-breaching party may be entitled to damages under Florida law.
Florida law recognizes both express and implied contracts. An express contract is one where the terms are clearly stated in writing or orally. An implied contract, on the other hand, is one where the terms are not expressly stated but are inferred from the conduct of the parties.
When a party breaches a contract, the non-breaching party has the right to sue for damages. Damages can be either compensatory or punitive in nature. Compensatory damages aim to compensate the non-breaching party for any losses suffered as a result of the breach. Punitive damages, on the other hand, aim to punish the breaching party for their actions.
There are several types of compensatory damages that may be awarded in a breach of contract case in Florida. These include direct damages, consequential damages, liquidated damages, and incidental damages.
Direct damages are damages that directly result from the breach of contract, such as lost profits or the cost of repairs. Consequential damages are damages that result indirectly from the breach of contract, such as lost opportunities or lost business. Liquidated damages are damages that are specified in the contract itself, such as a penalty for late delivery. Incidental damages are damages that are incurred as a result of trying to avoid or mitigate the damages resulting from the breach of contract, such as the cost of finding a new supplier.
In order to recover damages, the non-breaching party must prove that the damages were a direct result of the breach of contract. They must also show that they took reasonable steps to mitigate their damages.
Punitive damages are not typically awarded in breach of contract cases in Florida. However, in some cases, such as when the breach of contract was willful, malicious, or fraudulent, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages aim to punish the breaching party and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future. See Fla. Stat § 768.72.
Florida law places certain limitations on the amount of damages that can be awarded in a breach of contract case. For example, punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater. Additionally, Florida law requires the non-breaching party to take reasonable steps to mitigate their damages.
The case of Holley v. Mount Vernon Tankship Co., 67 So. 2d 903 (Fla. 1953), established that the purpose of contract damages is to put the non-breaching party in the same position they would have been in if the contract had been performed as agreed.
In conclusion, breach of contract damages in Florida can be complex and may depend on the specific terms of the contract and the circumstances of the breach. It is important to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you are a business owner or an individual, understanding the basics of breach of contract damages in Florida, as outlined in Florida statutes and case law, can help you make informed decisions and protect your interests.
If you are an individual or business involved in a potential or existing breach of contract claim in Florida, contact PFHG now for a complimentary consultation.