In the world of small claims court, verbal agreements can be a common source of dispute. While it is always recommended to have a written contract to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings, sometimes verbal agreements must suffice. In this article, we will discuss what verbal agreements are, how they can be enforced in small claims court, and how to avoid disputes arising from them.
What is a Verbal Agreement?
A verbal agreement is simply an agreement made between two or more parties without any written documentation. For instance, if you hire someone to work on your lawn and agree to pay them $50 for the service, that is a verbal agreement. While not as secure as a written contract, verbal agreements can still be legally binding.
Enforcing Verbal Agreements in Small Claims Court
If you are in a dispute regarding a verbal agreement, you can take it to small claims court to seek resolution. However, you must be able to provide some evidence that the verbal agreement existed. This could be accomplished through witness statements, correspondence, or even text messages.
Once you have demonstrated that a verbal agreement existed, the judge will consider the terms of the agreement and whether or not they were met. If the judge finds that the agreement was breached, they will order the party that breached the agreement to compensate the other party just as if a written contract existed.
Tips for Avoiding Disputes Regarding Verbal Agreements
While it is always advisable to have a written contract, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of disputes arising from verbal agreements. These include:
1. Be explicit about the terms of the agreement. Make sure that everyone involved clearly understands what is required of them.
2. Confirm the agreement in writing. Even if the agreement is verbal, follow up with an email summarizing the terms discussed. This will provide documentation in case of any future disputes.
3. Keep detailed records. If you are dealing with a verbal agreement, make sure to keep records of any correspondence or conversations related to the agreement. This can include emails, text messages, or even handwritten notes.
Verbal agreements can be risky, but with careful planning and attention to detail, they can still be enforced in small claims court. By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of disputes arising from verbal agreements and avoid the headaches associated with them.