When a Party to a Contract Makes a Unilateral Mistake

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What's a Unilateral Mistake?

Mistakes in a contract can often lead to various legal problems. Under contract laws, a contract mistake can either be mutual or unilateral. A mutual mistake is where both parties are mistaken about one of the terms in a contract. A unilateral mistake is where only one party is mistaken about a contract term.

Unilateral mistakes tend to raise very specific concerns in a contract arrangement. Since only one party is mistaken, there is a danger that the non-mistaken party might take advantage of the other party’s mistake. For instance, a common mistake is where one party is mistaken about the type of product in the contract. If they end up receiving a different product than was expected, it can create a legal dispute.

What Are the Remedies for a Unilateral Mistake?

When a party to a contract makes a unilateral mistake, it may require legal intervention to remedy the dispute. In most cases, a claim can be filed so that the courts can determine the nature of the mistake. In most cases, the court may prescribe a solution for the dispute depending on the type of mistake. Remedies for a unilateral mistake may include:

Thus, courts may often have to look back into the parties’ prior dealings to determine whether the other party knew or should have known about a mistake. This can often involve much deliberation and may require an examination of various business documents from past interactions. In some cases, a monetary award may be required to help restore the parties to their original positions.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Unilateral Mistakes in a Contract?

Mistakes in a contract are very specific legal issues, and often require the help of a lawyer. You may wish to enlist the services of a lawyer if you need help with a contract. A qualified attorney can help resolve disputes such as those involving unilateral mistakes, mutual mistakes, or other issues. Also, your lawyer can advise you during the actual court proceedings.

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Last Modified: 10-17-2013 12:44 PM PDT

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