Can I take Legal Action If I Signed A Waiver Before a Medical Procedure?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on November 30, 2022
Before you undergo any medical procedure, you will be given a stack of agreements to sign. The agreements you sign will include what is called a medical liability waiver or medical release. When a patient signs a medical liability waiver, the patient is giving their informed consent for the procedure to be carried out, and agreeing not to hold the doctor or medical facility responsible for any injuries that may be caused by the procedure. If you have questions regarding the legality of the waiver you signed, it is to your advantage to ask an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
What is Informed Consent?
Pennsylvania’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCare) Act of 2021, provides for the procedures for which a patient must give informed consent. Under the Act, informed consent requires that the patient or their authorized representative is given a description of the procedure they are about to undergo, and the risks and alternatives that a reasonably prudent patient would require to make an informed decision about the procedure.
The procedures for which informed consent is required, except in emergencies, are:
- Surgical procedures, including the administration of anesthesia
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Blood transfusions
- Insertion of a surgical device or appliance into the patient’s body
- Administering an experimental medication, using an experimental device, or using an approved medication or device in an experimental manner
Failure to get your informed consent before any of these medical procedures can be grounds for liability if you suffer injuries as a result.
Can I Take Legal Action?
Generally, signing a waiver means that you give up your right to hold your doctor or health care facility liable for any injuries caused by the treatment you receive. There are, however, limited circumstances under which you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim in spite of the waiver you signed.
- You may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim if you did not give informed consent for the procedure that caused your injury.
- Although an informed waiver will release the doctor or health care facility from known risks and complications disclosed to you, injuries caused by treatment below the standard of care expected for the treatment can be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
- Waivers are unenforceable against gross negligence. Gross negligence by your doctor or health care involves conduct that demonstrates a willful, wanton, and reckless disregard for the patient’s wellbeing. Acts of gross negligence can include amputating the wrong limb on a patient, or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient’s body.
Need Help With a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you suffered injury as a result of medical treatment you received and are in doubt about legal options because you signed a waiver, we can help you. The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Rosenbaum & Associates will review your case for free and let you know your legal position and if you have a valid claim. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and your pain and suffering. We can help you get the compensation you deserve in your case. Call us today at 215-569-0200 to schedule your free consultation.