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  1. #1
    guest2010 is offline Member
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    Breech of verbal agreement?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NJ

    Last year i went to a "pain management" facility/factory for "treatment". I had health insurance but my co-pay was very high so i could not afford it. Prior to my first visit there was a verbal agreement between me and the owner of the facility the co-pay will be waived 100%. I will not pay out of pocket, they will take whatever my insurance pays. I was referred to that place by a friend who was a patient there and asked the owner if he would waive the co-pay, to which he agreed. I had a family member drive me to my first appointment who also confirmed with the facility owner there would not be a co-pay charge. After 5 visits i asked if everything was ok and i could continue. They said i could. After my 10th visit on my way out i was approached by a masseuse who told me i owe money. She handed me a piece of paper with the amount owed and told me to sign it. I worked 11.5hr day, was very tired and could not think straight after the therapy session. I felt like i had to sign it just to leave that place. I never returned. After a while i received a letter from their collection attorney. I explained to the attorney there was a verbal agreement and i have two witnesses, one is a family member and one unrelated to me.

    Now i'm being sued in small claims for "past due medical bill". I have two witnesses willing to testify in court. Does my signature mean anything in this case? Can i counter-sue for my lost time from work and get compensation for my witnesses?
  2. #2
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Prior or contemporaneous verbal evidence cannot be used to change the meaning of a written contract intended to be the embodiment of the agreement is the basis of the parole evidence rule. Not only can you not be compensated for you effort, but also you will not be able to use any of the verbal evidence about a prior "agreement".

    You can try to claim you did not have capacity to agree at the moment of signing, but that is not going to be easy. Being tired will not be a consideration although if you were heavily medicated at the time it might be.

    Also, the clinic could not waive the co-pay. It is certainly a breach of contract with the company and, in some states, it has been considered insurance fraud.
  3. #3
    guest2010 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquility View Post

    Also, the clinic could not waive the co-pay. It is certainly a breach of contract with the company and, in some states, it has been considered insurance fraud.

    I checked with my ins. company. Waiving co-pay is not a violation. Some providers waive 100%, some reduce it. It's between me and providers.
  4. #4
    Gail in Georgia is offline Senior Member
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    Let's be honest here. You signed the agreement, figuring you'd never go back to the clinic and thus nothing would be done to you. Now it's come back to bite you in a tender spot.

    What do you believe will hold up more in court? Your contention that you had a verbal agreement or the fact that you signed a piece of paper agreeing to the amount they claim you owe?

    Gail
  5. #5
    guest2010 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail in Georgia View Post
    Let's be honest here. You signed the agreement, figuring you'd never go back to the clinic and thus nothing would be done to you. Now it's come back to bite you in a tender spot.

    What do you believe will hold up more in court? Your contention that you had a verbal agreement or the fact that you signed a piece of paper agreeing to the amount they claim you owe?

    Gail
    No, i signed because i thought i had to sign just to leave and deal with it later. I wanted to talk to the owner but he wasn't there. I did not return because what they did to me is unethical. They broke the agreement not to charge me. Why bother returning.

    I have two witnesses, a family member and one their patients who referred me. Both asked the owner of the facility prior to treatment if the copay will be waved and the answer was "yes". Not reduced, not anything. 100% zero out of my pocket. I would not have continued 10 more visits had they told me upfront. But this facility is new and they are young and greedy.

    I have seen a similar small claims case where a witness's testimony could have made a difference in the case. The defendant party did not produce a witness but instead brought a written testimony, which did not hold up. Even with one witness the defendant could have won despite the plaintiff having strong proof/evidence against the defendant.
  6. #6
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    No, i signed because i thought i had to sign just to leave and deal with it later
    As an advocate, this is NOT your reason. This would indicate you were competent to sign. If so, that is a problem.

    I wanted to talk to the owner but he wasn't there. I did not return because what they did to me is unethical. They broke the agreement not to charge me. Why bother returning.
    Blah, blah, blah. What is the legal point?
    I have two witnesses, a family member and one their patients who referred me. Both asked the owner of the facility prior to treatment if the copay will be waved and the answer was "yes". Not reduced, not anything. 100% zero out of my pocket. I would not have continued 10 more visits had they told me upfront. But this facility is new and they are young and greedy.
    Greedy and have an awareness of the law. See previous post for how such evidence gets in. (Hint, it doesn't.)
  7. #7
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."

    That verbal agreement you keep talking about is as good as the paper it's written on. No paper? No GOOD. Especially when they have something IN WRITING that directly contradicts the claim you make about a verbal agreement.

    And what is this about going to a "pain management" facility/factory for "treatment" (sic) and being charged for massages? Sounds to me like this facility may be little more than a front for massage parlor... Maybe the police would have time for a little visit there to check the place out...
  8. #8
    RRevak is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guest2010 View Post
    No, i signed because i thought i had to sign just to leave and deal with it later. I wanted to talk to the owner but he wasn't there. I did not return because what they did to me is unethical. They broke the agreement not to charge me. Why bother returning.
    Then you should have waited until speaking to the owner to sign the paper. You could have simply explained to the person handing you the paper that you had a particular agreement with said owner and that you would sign pending a conversation etc etc. NOT sign the paper and then cry when they come to you for the money that YOUR SIGNATURE authorized them to collect.

    See, the last time I checked one didnt sign paperwork they didnt comprehend. Things have a way of getting ugly afterwards.

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