Can I File A Medical Malpractice Case If I Signed A Consent Form For A Procedure?
Many times, you are asked to sign a form before you undertake an activity.
For example, you have forms put in front of you when you want to participate in a recreational activity.
This serves as a release from liability. When you are about to have a medical procedure, doctors will ask you to sign an informed consent form.
However, this should not keep you from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Doctors cannot require you to sign away your legal rights.
If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of a doctor, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
What Is Informed Consent?
This is a document that states that you have given permission for the surgery after being informed about the procedure.
Patients have the right to make their own medical decisions after listening to healthcare professionals and their recommendations.
Healthcare providers will explain the procedure to the patient and discuss medical options with them.
The doctor should discuss the potential benefits and the risks of the procedure and provide complete information to the fullest extent possible.
Under normal circumstances, they are not allowed to do anything unless the patient agrees to it.
The matter is different if there is a medical emergency.
Then, a doctor can perform a medical procedure without the patient's consent if the patient is not able to give it, and the family members cannot be located in time.
Why Do Doctors Ask for Informed Consent?
Physicians need informed consent forms to protect themselves (although not from a malpractice lawsuit)
Informed consent is primarily an issue of medical ethics than it is a legal matter.
Doctors have professional obligations, and the purpose of the consent form is not to get you to waive the right to a medical malpractice claim.
Physicians have an obligation to communicate and allow the patient to participate in their own healthcare.
The informed consent form is to protect you and ensure that you have been given complete information.
Otherwise, the physician could be in trouble with the licensing board for a lack of informed consent.
What Is on an Implied Consent Form?
This gives information about the surgery or treatment and your permission.
A medical consent form should have enough on it for you to understand the procedure and the benefits and risks of your course of treatment.
Doctors will not meet their professional obligations with a poorly written consent form.
Since informed consent means that you understand what is happening and give your permission for the treatment, the form should have the following:
- The name of your condition
- Information about the recommended medical procedure
- The risks and benefits of that procedure
- Alternative courses of treatments and the risks of pursuing them
What Happens When I Sign a Consent Form?
It gives the doctor permission to give treatment.
Signing a consent form means that you understand the risks of the procedure and know about your medical condition.
You have given the doctor permission to perform the procedure knowing the possible risks.
This is what the doctor needs to go ahead with the course of treatment. While this is a legal document, you are not signing away your rights.
Can I Still File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Absolutely. You do not sign over your rights.
As a patient, you have a legal right to sue a medical professional for negligence, and informed consent forms do not change that.
Medical consent forms do not get the doctor off the hook for anything that they do during the procedure.
Negligent care is still grounds for a lawsuit. Even when a doctor fully explains the potential risks, nothing relieves them from their obligation to use reasonable care on your procedure.
Are Consent Forms the Same as a Release?
No. These are two different things.
Consent forms are not the same as a release. There is no such language found on the consent form, as it is for general information purposes.
If physicians were to ask you to hold them blameless as a condition of you having surgery, there is little to no chance that a court would ever allow that clause to be upheld.
It would be void because it is one-sided and against public policy for medical professionals to ask you to waive your rights to bring a medical malpractice claim.
Patients cannot be asked to sign away their legal rights.
Society as a whole has an interest in physicians being held accountable for malpractice.
If medical professionals could get away with bad behavior simply because you signed a form, you may not want to get the medical care that you critically need.
Does Properly Obtained Consent Prevent Any Medical Malpractice Grounds?
Only in a very limited way.
There is one possible cause of action that could be off limits when you have signed a consent form.
You would not be able to sue a doctor for the failure to disclose the risks of a procedure because it is spelled out right there on the form when they obtain informed consent.
However, medical malpractice claims usually result from negligence or surgical errors.
Not understanding the risks would just be one of many grounds for malpractice.
What Are Some Medical Malpractice Claims that You Can Bring After Signing Informed Consent?
Even after the doctor has explained the procedure to you, there are still many things that could go wrong that could be the grounds for a medical malpractice case.
Here are some surgical errors that doctors make, even after you have signed the informed consent form:
- Operating on the wrong body (meaning, the wrong person)
- Operating on the wrong body part (wrong site surgery)
- Anesthesia errors
These constitute some of the worst errors when a patient agrees to undergo surgery.
In truth, medical negligence does not have to be as outlandish as the errors above (although those mistakes do happen).
The doctor simply has to act unreasonably under the circumstances.
While you cannot always sue for a poor surgical outcome, you can file a case if the doctor did not use reasonable care and acted in a way that an ordinary doctor would not.
Can Anything Else Stop You from Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Your claim would need to be filed before the statute of limitations.
In addition, you would need to have a valid cause of action that states a claim against the doctor.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you have suffered an injury from medical malpractice, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
To obtain the compensation you deserve, contact the law firm of Rosenfeld Injury lawyers to pursue your individual case.
You can call us at (888) 424-5757 or fill out a confidential contact form on our website.
Our attorneys will speak with you and learn more about your case.
Once we have agreed on an attorney client relationship, we will then file a lawsuit on your behalf against the doctor and hospital responsible for your injury.
For additional information see the following pages:
- Can I Sue For Medical Malpractice If There Was a Poor Surgical Outcome?
- Will My Medical Malpractice Case Go To Trial?
- How Do You Prove Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case?
- How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
- What Does 'Medical Malpractice' Mean?
- Do I Need to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?