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Beware of verbal promises in the construction industry

| May 17, 2021 | Construction Law |

It almost goes without saying that construction agreements should be reduced to a formal written contract. But in the fast paced construction industry, this doesn’t always happen. Timelines are tight and, as a result, parties sometimes try to cut corners by simply coming to a verbal agreement and moving forward. That might sound more expeditious, but the fact of the matter is these verbal agreements can lead to issues that you should hope to avoid.

The enforceability of a verbal promise

Written contracts have many advantages, but one of the most important is the recording of intent. These documents very clearly signify what each party intends to do, so expectations are firm. In a verbal agreement, though, it’s harder to parse out each side’s intent. This can lead to confusion and misunderstanding, but you might not be protected in these instances as if you had a written contract.

This is because a verbal promise can be deemed by a Florida court to be a legally enforceable contract. Before that decision is made, though, a number of factors must be considered. Amongst them are whether an offer was actually made, and the previous dealings of the parties. If you and another party frequently come to these verbal agreements and carry out the duties laid out in them, then it’s more likely that a court will find a future verbal agreement to be enforceable.

Another major aspect of a verbal contract is detrimental reliance and actual performance. If one said is harmed by relying on the verbal promise or one party actually carries out its duties under the agreement, then, again, a court is much more likely to find it to be a binding contract.

Get the help you need with your contract dispute

Contract disputes arise all the time in the construction industry. When you find yourself in the middle of one of these disagreements, you need to be prepared to aggressively advocate for yourself. Attorneys who are skilled in this area of the law stand ready to help you in that endeavor.


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