Most people never expect to be in a situation where they can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. As a result, most people have tons of questions about how the process works. One of the very most common questions is about how consent forms affect medical malpractice lawsuits. If you signed a consent form, doesn’t that negate your ability to file a lawsuit? This guide will go over the answer. Remember, the best thing you can do to learn more about the potential for a lawsuit is to speak with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases.
The Consent Form
If you signed a consent form, then it is possible that you cannot file a lawsuit. However, this is not a guarantee. It depends on what was in the consent form you signed. Also, you should know that “release form” is simply another name for a consent form and there are no legal differences.
For a consent form to negate your ability to file a lawsuit, it must describe the exact injury you sustained from your medical treatment. If it is known to be a possible outcome of the treatment, it will be included in the consent form. Let’s examine an example. Let’s say you are supposed to undergo surgery on your brain and you sign a consent form in advance. The doctors know there is a 10 percent chance the surgery will blind you, so the consent form describes this possibility and states you are not allowed to sue if you are blinded. After the surgery, you discover you have lost the ability to smell. Because the consent form says nothing about this potential injury, you do have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, if you were blinded by the surgery, you would not have this right.
Additionally, for a consent form to be valid, two things must be true:
- You must have been in a competent mental state when you signed it.
- You cannot have been pressured into signing it
If either of these circumstances is not true, the consent form is invalidated and a lawsuit is a possibility. It can be difficult to make heads or tails of your consent form, so you should have an attorney look at it. A legal professional will easily be able to tell you if the consent form you signed negates the possibility of a lawsuit. Even if you are pretty sure a lawsuit is a possibility, the first step you should take is always to seek legal representation by contacting an attorney, like a medical malpractice attorney in Memphis, TN.
Thank you to the Law Firm of Darrell Castle & Associates PLLC, for their insight into medical malpractice law.