Avoiding Contract Disputes
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What Are Some Common Contract Disputes?
Contract disputes are among the most common types of business disputes. They can sometimes result in major losses to either party, since contracts often form the backbone of negotiations and transactions. Some common types of contract disputes include:
- Breach of contract
- Fraud, misrepresentation, coercion, and other similar issues
- Issues with mistakes in the contract
- Disputes over definitions of technical terms
- Disputes regarding performance of contract duties, such as failing to deliver goods or not paying for goods
- Disputes over the legality of the contract (for instance, a contract for one person to commit an act that’s prohibited by law)
Business contract disputes can be very different from disputes between personal parties. Most commercial or business contracts involve higher amounts than personal contracts, and may affect a larger group of people. Thus, it is important to exercise care and awareness when engaging in a business contract.
What Are Some Tips for Avoiding Contract Disputes?
One of the main sources of contract disputes is miscommunication. Many disputes can arise due to the parties not being clear on the contract terms. In some instances, it can even boil down to a single word or definition contained in the contract. Some tips for avoiding contract disputes are:
- Writing is important: Be sure to continually document negotiations in writing, at each step of the way. That way, you can keep track of the history of offers, amount of product, prices, and other important terms. It is possible to forget some contract terms within a day or two or even within a few hours. The final contract should be in writing as well.
- Know what you want: It is difficult to arrive at a suitable agreement if you are the other parties involved are unclear as to the goal of the contract. You should be able to state each negotiating point very clearly, such as selling price, product quantity, and other amounts. It is okay to work with price ranges and other estimates at first, but these need to be finalized to specific amounts during contract drafting.
- Watch for any changes: Be especially careful in cases where you are working with a new negotiator or when a product changes. Check for personnel credentials and double-check terms to avoid contract fraud.
- Be very, very clear: This is especially important when it comes to highly technical words or with trade terms. This can help you avoid contract mistakes and misunderstandings.
Lastly, it helps to work with a professional, such as a lawyer or mediator if needed. This can help things run more smoothly during negotiations. Also, in the event of an actual contract dispute, having a lawyer on hand already can help minimize delays and additional legal disputes. Remedies for contract disputes often involve either monetary damages awards, or equitable remedies, such as re-writing some of the contract terms.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Contract?
Contract disputes can often create additional strains on a transaction. They can also result in unnecessary delays and expenditures of resources. You may wish to hire a business lawyer in your area if you need help with any aspect of a business contract. Your attorney can help with negotiations, reviewing documents, and other tasks. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit for a remedy, your attorney can provide you with legal representation during the court proceedings.
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Last Modified: 02-23-2015 11:46 AM PST
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