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Information About Incidental Damages and its Legal Definition

Medha Godbole Jun 3, 2019
In legal terms, incidental damages are awarded in a lawsuit to a person in case of a breach of contract. It is primarily a compensation for commercially reasonable expenses, incurred on account of the breach by other party. Read ahead to know more...
An aggrieved claimant is awarded damages, in order to compensate for the injury, loss, or breach of contract. In case of a breach of contract between a buyer and seller, the court will award incidental damages to the aggrieved party, and make the defaulting party pay for the losses.

What are Damages in Legal Terms

In order to understand the meaning and utility of incidental damages, it is important to know the meaning of damages. Damages in legal terms refer to the money paid to the claimant, so as to compensate for the loss or injury caused by another party. However, damages awarded in tortuous claims and actions are different from commercial actions.
The most common type of damages claimed are compensatory and general damages. General damages cater for non-monetary aspects of loss or injury, compensatory or actual damages focus solely on the monetary losses incurred by the aggrieved party.
The objective of such a provision is to protect the consumer or seller from being cheated. It also aids in ensuring that the parties refrain from breaching the terms of a contract.

Definition of Incidental Damage

Incidental damages come under the purview of special damages, which include consequential damages. Damages of consequential action are awarded to help the aggrieved party regain its previous economic stand, by repaying the immediate losses, indirect losses, the anticipated profits as the aggrieved party could have made, had the contract not been breached.
Under the Uniform Commercial Code, incidental damages are expenses reasonably incurred by either party to a transaction in caring for goods after the other party's breach of the contract. The Uniform Commercial Code, safeguards the interest of the seller and buyer under the following sections.

Section 2-710

Seeks to protect and compensate the aggrieved seller. It states - Incidental damages to an aggrieved seller include any commercially reasonable charges, expenses or commissions incurred in stopping delivery, in the transportation, care and custody of goods after the buyer's breach, in connection with return, resale of the goods or resulting from the breach.

Section 2-715(1)

Favorable for the buyer and states - Incidental damages from the seller's breach include expenses reasonably incurred in inspection, receipt, transportation, care and custody of goods rejected, any commercially reasonable charges, expenses or commissions in connection with effecting cover, any other reasonable expense incident to the delay or other breach.
Incidental damages can be availed in commercial contracts, so as to restore the losses and damages incurred as a result of the other party's negligence or noncompliance.
The burden of proving breach of contract rests on the party claiming to have suffered losses. On the other hand, the accused party must prove that it has not violated the terms of the contract, and is thus not liable to indemnify for the losses incurred.