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Dawson and Rosenthal
Dawson and Rosenthal

Tort vs. Breach of Contract

One of the most common questions that breach of contract attorneys receive is if a breach of contract is a tort. In order to answer this question, we must first explain the two areas of law: tort and breach of contract. At Dawson & Rosenthal, our breach of contract lawyers reviews contracts regularly to determine if a breach qualifies as a tort for our clients.

What is a Contract?

A contract is defined as a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. A contract obligates the parties named to either perform or not perform certain acts or services. In order for the contract in question to be valid, the parties must have exchanged something of value, which is known as consideration.

If one or more of the parties fails to perform the required service or otherwise engages in an action banned by the contract, then the contract has been breached. Contract law in the United States then permits the person who suffered the breach to seek damages for the breach.

What is a Tort?

Tort falls under the civil law umbrella-like contract law. Tort claims arise due to a harm caused by someone’s inaction, action, or other type of behavior. The tort must have caused any of the following in order for a claim for damages to be successful:

  • Economic loss
  • Suffering
  • Injuries
  • Harm to someone else

There does not need to be a contract in place between the two people in order for a tort to have occurred. This means that tort law exists under the premise that people should be accountable for their actions or inaction.

What is an Intentional Tort?

An intentional tort occurs when a person intentionally acts, causing harm to the victim. Not only can the victim in the tort claim be compensated for damages related to the earlier list, but they can also acquire punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by the court in an effort to punish the defendant in the case for their intentional actions.

Is Breach of Contract a Tort?

Even though contract law and tort law are similar, breach of contract is not a tort. In tort law, there is no contract between the parties involved. There is simply a duty of care present that is imposed by the law and not the parties. On the other side of the spectrum, when a contract is breached, the duty was set forth by the parties who signed the contract. Therefore, the parties named in the contract are responsible for imposing the duty on each other.

Call a Breach of Contract Attorney in San Diego Today

Did you have a contract with another person, an employer, a contractor, or any other entity? Was that contract breached? Did you suffer damage from another person without a contract present? If so, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced San Diego breach of contract attorney about your situation. Call the office of Dawson & Rosenthal at (800) 598-5017, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation today.