Is a Verbal Agreement Binding?

If you’ve already agreed verbally to a settlement, you should consult an attorney right away to find out what your options are. It’s possible that your agreement is binding, but it might not be as easy to enforce as a signed, written agreement would be, especially if the terms are unfair to you. Whether the agreement will be enforced depends on a number of factors and conditions. 

If the amount is unreasonably low, your lawyer can organize your medical and other evidence to show that you deserve a higher award. If the insurance company does not cooperate, you might have to take your case to trial.

Other Insurance Company Tactics

You should be on guard whenever you’re contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Some other tactics it might use to dispute or deny your claim are requesting a medical authorization and requesting a recorded statement.

Requesting a Medical Authorization

The insurance adjuster is likely to ask you for a signed medical authorization giving access to your medical records, supposedly for the sake of calculating your current medical bills in order to include them in your settlement. The truth is that a signed authorization will give the company access to all your medical records, past and present. 

If there’s any indication that you’ve suffered previous injuries or have a pre-existing condition, the company will try to blame your current medical issues on past problems in order to reduce its liability, devalue your claim, and save money. You should not sign a medical authorization for the insurance company unless directed to do so by your attorney.  

Requesting a Recorded Statement

The insurance adjuster might ask you to tell your side of the story about your accident and resulting injuries and agree to have your statement recorded. The supposed reasons for recording your statement will be:

  • To understand exactly what happened and how you were hurt
  • To establish the at-fault driver’s liability
  • To be sure you get the settlement you deserve

Don’t believe any of it. The adjuster will probably ask you pointed, difficult questions during the recording in order to throw you off balance and make you sound unsure or inconsistent about the facts of your case. Any inconsistencies between this statement and previous or future statements you might make can be used to try and devalue your settlement. Again, you should refuse to give any recorded statement and refer the adjuster to your attorney.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.