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When Is Interfering With Business a Personal Injury?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If a California business competitor intentionally tarnishes your professional reputation, or if they do something that interferes with a business contract you have, is that a personal injury? You might be surprised to learn that in many situations it is! While most people think that personal injury claims need to involve physical harm, that is not always the case. Read on to learn more about how you can sue for personal injury to your California business opportunities.

Intentional Interference With a Contract and Inducing Breach of Contract

California law punishes unfair business practice known as “Intentional Interference With a Contract” and “Inducing Breach of Conduct.” The two are closely related, and occur when a person who knows a contract exists between parties acts intentionally to interfere with the performance of the contract, or causes one of the parties to breach the contract.

While they are similar, the key difference between which law applies is that proving Inducing Breach of Conduct in California requires showing that your contract was actually breached. Proving Intentional Interference With a Contract in California, however, simply requires showing that someone successfully interfered with the contractual performance obligations.

Interference With a Prospective Economic Advantage

California law also punishes an unfair business practice known as “Interference With Prospective Economic Relations.” This unfair practice occurs when someone uses unlawful or wrongful means, rather than fair business competitive practices, to intentionally interfere with your business’ relationship with a client. Generally, proving that Interference With Prospective Economic Relations has occurred requires showing that:

  • You had an existing business relationship with a client
  • You reasonably expected that your business relationship with them would result in future economic benefit to you
  • Someone else knew of the relationship, and used wrongful conduct to disrupt it
  • Because of their wrongful conduct, your relationship with your client was disrupted, causing you economic harm


Damages for Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Relations are generally calculated by determining the “lost profits” to your business. In order to recover for lost profits with this kind of California personal injury claim, you need to show that it was reasonably certain that you were going to receive some sort of economic advantage from your business relationship. This can be calculated a number of different ways, but an experienced California business personal injury can help you determine what your lost profits are.

Damages for Intentionally Interfering With Contractual Relations or Inducing Breach of Contract in California can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. They can include amounts you expected to receive under the contract, and any extra costs you incurred as a direct result of the interference or breach of contract. They can also include any lost profits you expected to make as a result of the contract, and potentially punitive damages.

Contact J&Y Law for Help With Your Business Personal Injury

If your California business has suffered as a result of someone else interfering with your client relationships or contracts, do not wait to contact a lawyer. Your business is your livelihood, and while competition is fair, intentional interference with your business is not fair competition. The attorneys at J&Y Law are ready to help you determine your legal options. Contact us today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.