I Signed a Consent Form, Have I Waived My Rights?

Prior to medical procedures patients are often required to sign consent forms, which are meant to inform patients of procedural risks so that they may make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to go through with the procedure. A signed consent should show that the patient was both aware of the risks and he or she consented to those risks, waiving any right to sue should the patient experience one of the unfortunate risks he or she was aware of prior to the procedure. In some cases, a signed consent is enough to bar a lawsuit, but not in all cases.

Do not assume that you cannot bring a claim because you signed a consent without first speaking with a medical malpractice attorney who has reviewed your consent and understands your injuries. There are some things you may not consent to, such as a medical professional’s negligence and there may be problems with what the consent form states or what actually caused your injury. When it comes to injuries, you may only know what medical professionals have told you and that may not be the full story.

Problems with actual consent form

A medical malpractice attorney will review your consent form to see if there are any issues with its content. Things to look for are whether or not the consent was thorough enough with regards to the risks associated with your procedure. Whether or not the information is accurate is also important. There could be misstatements or incorrect information, which would limit a patient’s ability to fully comprehend the procedure’s risks. It is also important to review the consent to see if your injury was associated with the risks that were addressed in the consent.

Conditions under which you signed the form

The conditions under which you signed the consent should also be examined. There may be a problem with the legitimacy of the signed consent if any of the following occurred:

The patient was pressured by medical professionals to sign the consent.
The patient was not capable of understanding what he or she was signing for reasons including dementia, being under influence of medical drugs, street drugs, or alcohol.

The consent was not given to the patient for review in a reasonable manner. For example if the patient was prepped and ready for surgery when a medical professional stops in and says, “Sign this so we can get you going” without having any prior discussions about risks associated with the procedure, the patient was put in an unfair position with little time to review or consider the risks. The point of the consent to ensure that the patient understands the risks so that he or she can make an informed decision as to whether or not he or she should have the procedure. In this example the patient has already made the decision without first understanding the risks.

Prior discussions with your doctor

A patient should have the opportunity to discuss the risks addressed in the consent with his or her medical professional prior to making any decisions. Additionally, it is important that prior to the patient making a decision about the treatment, he or she was informed of any alternative procedures or treatments that may have different or less risks.

How we can help

If you have been injured during a medical procedure and you signed a consent prior to the procedure, call Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, Eric Weitz, to schedule a consultation. We can review your consent and look into your injuries to determine if the consent waives your right to file a claim for your injuries. Signing a consent does not waive your right to sue for a medical professional’s negligence or risks that were not addressed (and should have been) prior to the procedure.



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