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Verdict: Money for dentures can be due without a signature


BGH makes an exception for behavior contrary to loyalty
Karlsruhe (jur). Patients have to pay a high share of dental treatment in individual cases even if they have not signed the treatment contract. According to a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe published on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, such an exception applies if the patient requested treatment and the lack of signature in practice was only slightly negligent (Az .: III ZR 286/15).

In the specific case, the patient needed prosthetic services. The dentist discussed two treatment options with her and gave the patient two treatment plans and cost plans including a treatment contract. The first plan only provided the medically necessary services without own contribution. The second considered several aesthetic performances desired by the patient, in particular ceramic veneers; the expected own contribution should be 6,840 euros.

The patient only submitted the expensive plan to her health insurance company and brought it back to the practice approved. She had not signed the enclosed treatment contract, but the practice staff accidentally missed it.

The dentist treated according to the second plan; the own contribution was ultimately 3,860 euros. Even after several reminders, the patient did not pay for this. After all, she didn't sign the treatment contract.

As the BGH decided, she still has to pay the bill.

The Karlsruhe judges emphasized the special protective purpose of a healing and cost plan. This should reliably inform about the expected costs and prevent patients from a hasty fee agreement. In urgent emergencies, dentists could therefore rely on "management without a mandate" if they start treatment without a signature. Exceptions to the applicable formal requirements are only permitted in exceptional cases.

In the specific case, the BGH saw such an exception. The patient could not rely on the missing signature. In doing so, it violates good faith. According to the undisputed findings of the Wuppertal District Court, the patient was advised comprehensively and then consciously decided on the more expensive treatment. Accordingly, she only had this medical plan and cost plan approved by her health insurance company and then submitted to the practice. Only after completing the treatment did she claim non-compliance with the written form.

This was a “serious breach of fiduciary duty”, emphasized the BGH in its judgment of November 3, 2016, which has now been published in writing

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