Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
We Had an Agreement! Or Did We?
Talk is cheap. Surprisingly, each and every day people make oral business agreements. Despite the matter’s simplicity or seriousness, they often do not think whether or not the agreement is legally enforceable if one side or the other were not to live up to their end of the bargain.
Many of us want to believe that a business agreement accompanied with a handshake is all that is needed, and that litigation to enforce the agreement will not be necessary. Unfortunately, this honor system many North Carolinians respected is gone.
An Oral Contract and its Enforceability
An oral contact is an agreement between two parties that is either partly or entire verbal. The parties simply discuss the terms of the contract but never memorialize the agreement into a writing signed by both the parties.
Oral contracts may be enforceable in North Carolina if the party wishing to enforce the terms can establish that an agreement existed. That party must also be able to reliably ascertain the terms of the agreement.
Establishing that an agreement actually existed and proving its terms is very difficult to do, especially when there is nothing written down memorializing the agreement.
Contracting in this way can be very risky and potentially very dangerous from a business standpoint. One side can try to establish that the agreement existed and the other can simply deny its existence. Without solid proof of an oral agreement, the agreement will not be enforced by a court of law.
The Statute of Frauds
Oral contracts may be enforceable if a party can establish that an agreement existed. However, North Carolina has adopted the Uniform Commercial Code, which in turn requires that certain types of contracts comply with the statute of frauds.
In order to comply with the statute of frauds, specific types of contracts must always be memorialized in a writing signed by both parties to be legally enforceable. Further, the writing must contain all the essential terms of the agreement – the subject matter, the price, the quantity, and the consideration paid.
In North Carolina, the following types of contracts must comply with the statute of frauds:
- Leases of real property for longer than 3 years;
- Easements of longer than a year;
- Mortgages or deeds of trust;
- An interest in land;
- A surety, or personal guarantee, promise to pay;
- A marriage;
- The executor of an estate’s promise to guarantee estate debts;
- Covenants not to compete;
- And the sale of goods by a merchant valued at $500 or more.
The bottom line: it is always best to have any type of agreement, large or small, memorialized in writing. It is also a good idea to work with a seasoned business litigation attorney who can guide you in the writing and signing of a valid, legally enforceable agreement.
The attorneys at Bice Law, LLC have years of both business and contract law experience. Contact the firm today in order to receive sound business law advice and guidance.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.