How are damages calculated in a small claims case?

UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012

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How are damages calculated in a small claims case?

A contractor started building a closet in my home 9 months ago but did not finish. This despite admitting the job was not complete, despite repeated calls, and despite being paid in full for the project. Additionally, at the end of the project, a worker reported the owner did not apply for permits, etc. So he could reduce the cost of the project and increase profit. The cost was $4100. Am I entitled to any damages due to time to pursue the contractor, my daughter not being able to use the closet all these months?

Asked on February 20, 2012 under Business Law, Georgia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under the law in all states, damages are calculated diffrently in different types of claims based upon different theories of recovery.

In the contractor situation that you are writing about, your damages would be for breach of contract and would be measured by the costs for what a new closet would be with permits versus the contract price and amount paid to date.

You need to get an estimate from licensed contractor for the costs to have the designed closet placed (and possible tear out due to the one not having permits).

If the new estimate is $8,000 for a whole new closet, your damages would be $8,000 less $4,100 or $3,900. You do not get damages for loss of use concerning the closet.

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