Visitor Question

Is a Verbal Settlement Agreement Legally Binding?

Submitted By: Eric (Gary, IN)

I was in a rear-end auto accident.

The responsible party’s insurance ended up doing an “ambulance” scam on me.

They came to my house, and called me several times to go to a physician of their choice (who is now closed).

Then at the physician’s office (aka chiropractor’s office) I was referred to an attorney. They are all connected. I caught on after the fact, and may have given verbal permission to accept the settlement they were asking for which was very low. But I never signed the settlement they wanted me to.

Also, I fired the attorney prior to when they say I accepted the settlement verbally. I made it clear I did NOT want the settlement, and I never signed the settlement. So, I guess I’m asking is a verbal settlement agreement legal?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Eric,

The issue of whether the parties are connected or not is not necessarily being addressed here as there is not enough information to show whether an “ambulance” scam was created or what an “ambulance scam” even is.

You indicate that you may have verbally accepted a settlement but this settlement was more than likely accepted without regard to the fact that you believe the parties were connected. To that end, one would ask whether you believed it was fair and reasonable upon acceptance.

Furthermore, before you sign an agreement, you always first accept a settlement verbally which would give the impression that the verbal settlement is actually binding, the written expression of which is a mere formality to that which you have already agreed.

If you think fraud was involved or there is some other legitimate reason to suggest that you should not be bound by a verbal acceptance, you might consider proposing this to the insurance adjuster.

It sounds, however as though they intend to hold you to your word…. which is not a bad philosophy from their point of view.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 30, 2010

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