Need to Void a Contract? How to Avoid Breach of Contract in Virginia

Posted by: Copenhaver, Ellet & Derrico

Although breaching a contract can lead to complicated lawsuits, it is possible to void a contract within the legal realm. And while it might sound like a breach, the differences can affect all the involved parties differently.

And if you don’t know what you are doing, you could be creating a contract that cannot be legally enforced, leaving you with unresolved services and lost money.

What is a Breach of Contract in Virginia?

First, learn the differences between breached and voided contracts. A breach of contract violates any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a binding agreement in a signed contract. They can range from anything like a late payment to a more severe violation, such as the failure to deliver a promised asset.

A breach can happen in both written and oral agreements and usually falls into these 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. 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 harmful behavior from happening again. While not unheard of, these are not common in Virginia contract cases.

Liquidated damages

This means that one party might have to sell or turn over specific items to cover damages. Usually, these are agreed to and listed in a particular clause in the contract.

Injunctions/other equitable relief

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

What is a Void Contract?

A void contract is no longer valid or legally enforceable under state or federal laws. This could be because a change in policy means that certain products or services are no longer needed or because the contract was not correctly written and approved in the first place.

It could also be because one party made an unfair deal to the other party, so a court or arbitrator rules that it was never within the realm of reason, to begin with.

What Valid Reasons are there to Void a Contract?

You might wonder if there are justified motives to get out of your contract. Read below to see some of the more common reasons people use to void a contract.

The contract is against prevailing public policies

Whatever the agreed-up product or service is, the contract cannot go against public policies that are in place to protect others.

The contract is severely one-sided

In business agreements, there needs to be equal compensation for all involved parties. One party cannot exponentially benefit while the other(s) suffer.

The contract involves illegal activities or crimes

No part of the delivered product or service can come from illicit actions. This includes the raw materials, the source of labor, and so on.

The contract was signed by unqualified parties

People deemed not legal to make their own decisions cannot become a part of a contract. These can include minors, the mentally disabled, vulnerable elderly, and more.

The contract is impossible to perform

You cannot base the exchange of goods and services on tasks that the other parties will not be able to complete.

The contract restricts certain rights, such as the right to work

The right-to-work (RTW) law allows workers to choose whether to join a labor union in the workplace. Your contract cannot impede that.

Contact a Roanoke Valley Lawyer to Void Your Contract

Are you in a contract that you feel was not correctly set up? Or do you think it was not made with everyone’s best interest in mind? Then contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico.

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