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Is a Verbal Agreement to an Insurance Settlement Binding in Texas?
Often, many insurance adjusters’ tactic after a car accident is to immediately call their opposition, using the conversation to then manipulate them into an agreement that will likely leave the injured person with an awful settlement. There is nothing in Texas law that states an agreement has to go further than a simple conversation for it to become legally binding. Furthermore, it’s also completely legal for the insurance company to record any phone communication without first asking for the permission of all parties involved.
This combination of loopholes in Texas law means that this tactic has become an unfortunately common practice which insurance companies can use to doom their opposition’s case. By legal definition, a verbal agreement becomes binding in Texas if three stages of the agreement are found to be present in the conversation. Essentially, if the dialogue contains some form of offer, a statement of acceptance, and has also discussed reasonable benefits for each side of the case, the verbal agreement becomes binding.
Avoiding the Trap of Verbal Agreements
Never accept any offer for a settlement quickly — in situations where there has been a serious car wreck, financial aid towards medical treatment will be needed after the incident has occurred.
In the past, this has been exploited in cases such as Windell Gilbert v. Cherish Fitz. Mr. Gilbert received financial aid towards healthcare for only the day of the incident, yet his injuries persisted further and his opponent’s insurance company was not legally obliged to compensate. This was because the adjusters had called on the day of the incident and offered Mr. Gilbert the coverage for the day of the incident as well as $500. Unknowingly having been recorded whilst he accepted this offer, his insurance company’s competitor managed to prove the existence of a verbal contract, and no further reimbursement was made.
If you are contacted by an insurance company or an insurance adjuster after a car accident, it is imperative to avoid speaking to them alone. Exercise your rights and demand to only speak to them once you are accompanied by an automobile collision lawyer in Houston Texas. Having an attorney present will allow protection from any manipulative tactics by the adjuster such as those mentioned above — even if they seem to want to help, the fact they can record your conversation without your knowledge is legally dangerous.
Call One of the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Houston
If you or someone you know has been in a car crash contact a top rated Houston commercial truck accident lawyer. With extensive experience dealing with automobile collisions, Houston lawyer Joe Stephens will listen and understand on a deeper level the causes behind your accident.
Our law firm specializes in a variety of different collision/crash cases, and can also help with issues or queries involving insurance and its intricacies. We make sure you feel heard and understood. Equally important to us as the liability is the potential compensation you deserve.
If you’re experiencing distrust or problems sorting a settlement out with the insurance companies of involved parties, turn to us for a hand — we’d love to help.
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