You must hold up your end if you agree to provide a product or service. At the same time, if you pay for something, the other party must hold up their end of the bargain. If either side does not do what they said they would, they are in breach of contract.

Breaching a legal agreement can have serious legal and professional repercussions, including significant penalties and severe damage to your reputation. Regardless of whether you feel you were justified or unfairly accused of committing the act, you could find yourself in serious trouble.

And considering how complicated contract law can be, having a good breach of contract lawyer is incredibly important if you think another party has not held up their part of a contract.

If you are stuck in the middle of a contract dispute, contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico. Our business dispute lawyer excels in settling business disputes. Call us today at (540) 655-1854 to learn more.

What is a Breach of Contract?

A breach of contract violates any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a binding contract. The breach could be between two individual persons; a person and a business; or two businesses. They can range from a late payment to a more severe violation like failing to deliver a promised asset. A breach can happen in both written and oral agreements.

This is different than voiding a contract, which can be done in a legal way when one or both parties decide that the contract no longer pertains to what was initially discussed. Generally, a breach of contract falls into two categories:

  • Minor Breach of Contract – When you don’t receive an item or service by the due date.
  • Material Breach of Contract – When you receive something different from what was stated in the agreement.

Are there Penalties for Breach of Contract?

Yes. Breaking contracts can have serious consequences. On top of repaying any money that has already been exchanged, you could also find yourself paying in other ways:

Compensatory damages

These are awarded to the party that suffered damages because of the breach and compensate them for their loss.

Consequential damages

These compensate a party for any damages that directly resulted from the breach. They can include other expenses plus the actual incurred costs, but consequential damages are only available if they are foreseeable.

Punitive damages

These are given as punishment to prevent the harmful behavior from happening again. While not unheard of, these are not common in Virginia contract cases. 

Liquidated damages

These happen when one party might have to sell or turn over specific items to cover any damages. Usually, these are agreed to and listed in a particular clause in the contract.

Injunctions/other equitable relief

These are awarded and other damages when a specific value cannot be placed onto the breach. They can also enforce that one party still completes their end of the contract

Can You Remedy Breach of Contract?

Yes, and it does not always mean that you must take someone to court, which can be time-consuming and costly. A series of methods known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can create an outcome that appeases all parties involved. Still, with each, it is in your best interests to have a good breach of contract lawyer acting on your behalf.


When an impartial, unbiased individual trained in dispute resolution (known as a “neutral”) assists in the determination, often without having the parties meet.

Here, your lawyer would gather all your information, make an appearance for you, and argue based on your position/wants.


When a neutral party facilitates a meeting of the parties so they may reach a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.

While you still must make an appearance, your lawyer can go back and forth with the other lawyer during the negotiation, unlike in a court battle.

Early Neutral Evaluation

Here parties present their case to a neutral, and the neutral provides a non-binding assessment of the likely court outcome. With an objective evaluation, the parties get a realistic view of the court outcome, which may lead to all parties settling.

Of course, your lawyer can tell you whether they believe a court would rule differently based on the evidence gathered during the process.


In this formal process, a neutral party hears arguments by the parties but does not facilitate negotiation between them. However, they have the authority to decide, and the parties decide whether the decision is binding or non-binding.

Contact a Roanoke Valley Breach of Contract Lawyer

Writing and signing a contract may seem like a cut-and-dry process, but not knowing what you are getting into can create a highly complex situation. If you think you are either the victim of a contract breach or a party who feels you are being accused without reasonable cause, contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico.

Call us today at (540) 655-1854, or use our online form to see how we can help you.