Stuck with braces on for months. Lawsuit?

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jared910
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:09 pm

Stuck with braces on for months. Lawsuit?

#1 Post by jared910 »

I was scheduled to get my braces off today, but i found out that my mom had fell behind in some payments. The orthodontist said they will not take off my braces until she makes the payments. Unfortunately my family is lower class and it will take many months to come up with the money. Is there any way around this? Maybe some law or obligation of some sort to help me out. I was thinking about mentioning patient abandonment. If i have to wait till she has to pay, I will have to resort to removing them myself. And i really don't wanna do that. You are all experts here so try to help me out.

bbsadmin
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#2 Post by bbsadmin »

Please don't "resort to removing them yourself." You could ruin your teeth, which will cost you even more money, not to mention the harm you'll inflict on your teeth.

There was a thread about this subject previously, but I don't remember its outcome at the moment.

When the orthodontist said that she "needs to make some payments," what does that mean? Full payments? Partial payments? What amount of money "per payment" is he talking about, and over what time period? Usually docs are willing to work with folks who have fallen on hard times. How many payments did she miss? How much more is left in the balance? These are things you need to find out before you proceed.

Also, if you have the contract that she signed when the treatment began, you need to look it over. It may specifically state that the braces won't be removed until the balance is paid in full.

Members and docs, what can this patient do? He is caught in the middle. Has this happened to anyone else on the Board?
I'm the owner/admin of this site. Had ceramic uppers, metal lowers ~3 years in my early 40's. Now in Hawley retainers at night!

jared910
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:09 pm

#3 Post by jared910 »

I appreciate the reply.

I hope someone can help me here.

jared910
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:09 pm

#4 Post by jared910 »

sorry about the double post.

She still owes $700.

And he is asking for all of it before he will remove my braces

Snowglobe32
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#5 Post by Snowglobe32 »

A lawsuit will cost more than $700.00 dollars.

How about saving up the money until you can get the braces off safely?

Yard sales, temporary holiday work???

Snowglobe32
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#6 Post by Snowglobe32 »

Or negotiating a lower amount?

What about retainers? Are you not going to get those?

jared910
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:09 pm

#7 Post by jared910 »

I'm not actually gonna file a lawsuit. I just wanted to know if there was a way around it. Cause if there isn't, then im stuck in braces that are finished for months.

UGHBRACES
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#8 Post by UGHBRACES »

Even if you did take them off yourself, you'd need retainers which your current ortho obviously would not give you. That means you would have to go elsewhere and this would cost several hundred dollars. If you take them off and don't wear a retainer then your teeth will relapse which would make all that hard earned money your family has already pumped into your treatment a waste - so that is the absolute worst option.

A lawsuit is not going to get you anywhere because your ortho likely has himself protected for this situation and has it in the contract. I think a lot of orthos do this.

IMO your options here is to either pay it off in full no matter how much longer it takes, try and work something else out with the ortho or try and find a way that you can borrow the money elsewhere.

jared910
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:09 pm

#9 Post by jared910 »

there has to be something i can do.

Im done with the braces i just havent paid full yet.

Isnt there some kind of social obligation for patient abandonment issue i can mention to some how persuade him to change his mind

Snowglobe32
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#10 Post by Snowglobe32 »

How about contacting a different ortho to see if they will take them off? It would have to cost less.

Patient abandonment, how do you figure that? He provided a service, which you agreed to pay for. Where does the abandonment come into play on his part?

UGHBRACES
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#11 Post by UGHBRACES »

But you were not really abandoned by them, you just haven't completed your end of the deal. I am sure when you pay they will happily make your retainers for you and then continue on seeing you for the retention phase of treatment.

If they made a habit out of removing braces for patients with an outstanding balance, they would lose a lot of money because there are people out there that would just say screw them and not pay(not saying this is what you would do, but it is why the policy exists).

Lynette
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#12 Post by Lynette »

I read somewhere, not exactly sure what country it was for (Maybe UK?) that if you somehow can't fund your treatment, legally the orthodontist is still required to finish your treatment and the debt will be sent to a collection agency.

I don't think they can legally just leave them on. Imagine if you could not get the money together for another 5 years?! Imagine leaving them on your teeth for that long without proper care. Your teeth would be ruined!
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jared910
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#13 Post by jared910 »

Lynette wrote:I read somewhere, not exactly sure what country it was for (Maybe UK?) that if you somehow can't fund your treatment, legally the orthodontist is still required to finish your treatment and the debt will be sent to a collection agency.

I don't think they can legally just leave them on. Imagine if you could not get the money together for another 5 years?! Imagine leaving them on your teeth for that long without proper care. Your teeth would be ruined!
This is the kinda thing i was looking for. keep em coming

classII
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#14 Post by classII »

Sounds nasty. On the ortho's part actually.

1. 700$ represents say 3 months worth of payments if under a regular payment plan. How could they have allowed it to get to that point.

2. Subject to the actual contract, common sense though the work isn't complete until they take them off, then you make your final payment. Who pays for incomplete work.

3. Contact the orthodontic society and file a complaint. Just doesn't sound right that of all things an orthodontist is holding you hostage for payment. Mechanics do it with cars, but an ortho with a human being?

4. Stick the balance on a credit card and worry about them coming after you for payments instead, they're much more lenient. :lol:

5. I'd pay the guy the guy his 700$ and then tell him to get stuffed and go somewhere else.

I'm having a hard time picturing the actual ortho saying this to your face. Yes, the hard nosed office manager or receptionist, but the ortho? Wow. Nasty.

I think your ticket may be that they allowed more than one payment to lapse.

UGHBRACES
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#15 Post by UGHBRACES »

classII wrote:
2. Subject to the actual contract, common sense though the work isn't complete until they take them off, then you make your final payment. Who pays for incomplete work.
.
Who provides a complete service months and months before getting paid?

Anyways, I am sure the ortho will accept payment after the braces are removed, as long as it is done in the same visit.

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