Contract disputes can be especially costly and harmful to small and mid-sized business owners, and there are a lot of small business owners in North Dakota. Data from a 2022 profile by the Small Business Administration shows that 98.8% of companies in the state are small businesses. Plus, these employ over half of the state’s residents.
Therefore, when business contract disputes occur, the consequences can trickle down beyond owners to everyday working families. By understanding common reasons for these disputes, forward-thinking business owners can protect themselves, their employees and their clients.
Ambiguous contract terms
When parties enter into contractual agreements, they often assume that all terms and conditions are clear and unambiguous. Unfortunately, that may not be the case. Sometimes, contract terms can be vague or open to interpretation. This leaves room for miscommunication and conflicting expectations.
When this happens, contract disputes can arise, often leading to costly legal battles. By proactively addressing ambiguous language, the parties can avoid many of the pitfalls that commonly lead to contract disputes.
Deliberate misrepresentation by a party
Another possible reason for contract disputes is misrepresentation. This refers to when one party gives false information or fails to disclose vital details that would have affected the other party’s decision to enter into the contract. Such actions can lead to an unfair advantage for the party making the misrepresentation and can ultimately result in a breach of contract.
Misrepresentation can take many forms, from outright lies to vague statements that a party misinterprets. To avoid contract disputes, both parties should be clear and honest in their communication throughout the negotiation and drafting of the contract.
Not clarifying the repercussions of force majeure
Force majeure is a term that is often in contracts that refers to unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of the parties, such as natural disasters, political upheaval or health crises. These events may affect the ability of one or both parties to fulfill their contractual obligations.
As a result, disputes may arise as to whether the parties could have done more to mitigate their losses. The uncertainty and complexity of these unforeseeable scenarios can make it challenging to determine who bears the responsibility for any negative consequences.
The possibility of a contract dispute shows the need to carefully draft a contract. Above all, clear and concise language can go a long way in avoiding issues down the line.