What Are My Legal Options if I Verbally Accepted a Settlement?
The insurance company is most likely going to call you soon after an accident to make a settlement offer. Generally, that offer is nowhere near how much your case is truly worth, but the insurance company is betting on you accepting it so they can avoid paying out full compensation.
If you get a call from the insurance company, you are within your rights to tell them you would like to discuss your claim with an attorney before making any decisions. However, there are many accident victims who do not know this and might verbally accept the offer. While this may not be enough to stop negotiations, it could affect your claim.
Below, we discuss the binding nature of a verbal agreement and whether it may be enough to halt negotiations for fair compensation.
ARE VERBAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS BINDING?
In personal injury cases, the accident victim’s acceptance of a settlement is usually given in writing. The insurance company may initially present the victim with a verbal offer. However, if that offer is accepted, there is paperwork that follows. Usually, the paperwork details the dollar amount being offered and any other acceptance terms, such as releasing the insurance company from liability should your injuries later worsen.
Sometimes, the insurance company might try a “gotcha” scheme to entice an accident victim to verbally accept an offer over the phone. Since phone conversations are generally recorded, the insurance company could argue that verbal acceptance is binding. If you try to fight against this in court, there is a possibility that the agreement could be enforced. However, it is less likely to be enforced in an accident case due to precedential procedures of how claims are resolved.
CAN I RENEGE ON A VERBAL AGREEMENT?
Usually, yes, you can take back a verbal agreement you made with the insurance company. It may depend on how it was done, though.
If you verbally accepted the offer in a recorded conversation that has the same language as the document one would sign to accept a settlement, then it may be more difficult to renege.
However, if the conversation was more casual and you were not made aware of all the facts of the offer, then you may have more room to rescind your acceptance.
When it comes to verbal agreements in personal injury cases, there is a lot of room for fighting back. Having an attorney on your side who knows how to dispute the insurance company’s arguments is vital.
Our personal injury lawyers in New Jersey are prepared to help you pursue full compensation after an accident, even if you verbally accepted a settlement offer.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT VERBALLY ACCEPT AN OFFER
Because insurance companies call injury victims soon after an accident to make a settlement offer, this is usually when a verbal acceptance is made. Since you are unable to see the big picture regarding your damages, it is generally not a good idea to accept an offer from the insurance company right away.
It is usually recommended that you discuss your claim with an attorney after seeing a doctor so you may have a better idea of what the value of your case may be.
WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY REFUSES TO CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS?
If you verbally accepted a settlement offer but changed your mind after discovering it did not meet your needs, there is a chance the insurance company may try to stop negotiating. This does not mean you are out of options to pursue compensation.
Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be able to file a lawsuit to help recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
If the insurance company tries to argue that your verbal acceptance constitutes the end of negotiations, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to help you rescind your agreement and build a strong case for full compensation.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TODAY
Verbally accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company may not be the end of your case, even if the insurance company tries to make you think it is. You may still have legal options for pursuing the compensation you need through further negotiations or by filing a lawsuit.
Let our attorneys discuss your claim during a free consultation. There are no fees while we investigate, and you do not pay us unless we recover compensation for you.
Call (800) 518-0508 today.