Breach of Contract Claims in Florida: What are Incidental Damages?
Through a breach of contract claim, the non-breaching party has the right to seek financial compensation for their damages. In Florida, a number of different types of damages may potentially be recoverable through a breach of contract claim. Incidental damages are one remedy in a contract dispute. Here, our Miami business litigation attorneys explain the most important things you should understand about incidental damages in a breach of contract claim.
Incidental Damages: Defined
Legal Information Institute defines incidental damages as a form of compensatory damages that are “based on costs associated with the loss in the value of the other party’s failed or deficient performance.” In other words, these damages are the reasonable expenses that a non-breaching party incurs when they are dealing with the direct fall out of a contract breach.
Incidental Damages May Be Recoverable in a Breach of Contract Claim in Florida
In Florida, parties may be able to recover incidental damages in a breach of contract claim. As noted above, these damages are designed to account for additional costs incurred while mitigating the breach’s effects. For example, incidental damages might include expenses like finding alternative goods or services, or extra shipping and storage fees.
Limitation: Incidental damages in Florida can only be recovered to the extent that they are 1) Reasonable costs and to 2) Directly related to the breach of contract.
Documentation of Damages is Key in a Breach of Contract Claim
The non-breaching party must comprehensively document damages in order to recover the maximum financial relief through a breach of contract claims. All damages should be thoroughly documented—and incidental damages are certainly no exception to that rule. To claim these damages, a non-breaching party should maintain detailed records of all additional expenses related to the breach.
The Duty to Mitigate is Strong: Parties Should Try to Limit their Damages After a Breach
A breach of contract claim is a civil legal action that allows the non-breaching party to recover financial compensation for their damages. Notably, Florida law clearly states that non-breaching parties have a strong and comprehensive duty to mitigate their damages. This principle asserts that individuals cannot simply allow their losses to accumulate without taking action. For example, if a supplier fails to deliver goods as contracted, the buyer should attempt to find a replacement to avoid further loss.
Remember, those extra expenses incurred while mitigating the breach are incidental damages. They may be recovered as part of your breach of contract claim. That being said, a failure to abide by the duty to mitigate damages could undermine your recovery. If a breach of contract claim ends up in litigation and a court finds that the non-breaching party could and should have mitigated damages, those specific damages may not be recoverable.
Get Help From Our Florida Breach of Contract Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business litigation attorney has extensive experience handling complex breach of contract cases. Do you have any specific questions about incidental damages in a contract dispute? We are here to help. Contact us today for your confidential case evaluation. With an office in Miami and another office in West Palm Beach, we represent clients across South Florida.