Is an independent contractor liable based on verbal agreementsregarding payment fora phone, tools and a vehicle thatwas wrecked?

A previous IC of mine got in 2 accidents (auto) and he was informed he would be responsible for any vehicle accidents or tickets. There was no written agreement on the matter it was all verbal. He also was supposed to pay me for the phone he used and the tools provided by me; all inclusive he owes me $4400 plus the phone. Can I bring legal action on him to get my money or is it all just gone?

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Oral (sometimes called verbal) agreements are enforceable, so if you had an oral agreement that the contractor should pay a certain amount of money and it has not been paid, you could sue for compensation. Here are the issues:

1) Proving the terms and conditions of the agreement: this can be difficult if it just comes down to your word vs. his (i.e. if he disagrees about what was said or agreed). Remember: if you sue him, the onus is on you to prove your case.

2) Agreements are usually only prospective, not retroactive--so unless the agreement was made

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