If you require surgery or another medical procedure, there is a good chance a doctor will ask you to sign a consent form, medical release or waiver. These documents advise patients of risks, document informed consent and disclaim liability for any problems that may arise.
Surgical errors and other types of medical malpractice may leave you with life-altering injuries. Fortunately, you may be able to pursue financial compensation from the physician or other medical professionals who committed the error. This may be true even if you signed a waiver.
Waivers are often complex
Physicians often wait until mere minutes before a procedure to present patients with medical waivers, which are often full of technical language. Even if you sign the waiver, you may not have enough time to understand its contents fully. You may also lose focus when reading the waiver, especially if your surgical procedure is a stressful one.
Because waivers are often complex, you should ask to review the document before the day of your procedure. If you do not understand the waiver after your review, ask a competent attorney for assistance.
Waivers have limitations
Regardless of their language, most waivers have limitations. For example, the waiver likely only protects the physician from liability for the known risks of the procedure. If your doctor’s actions do not reflect the normal standard of care, the waiver may also not apply.
Your physician may hope the waiver you sign is enough to convince you not to file a lawsuit or take other appropriate steps. Nevertheless, because the waiver’s applicability is a legal question instead of a medical one, you should not let the waiver dissuade you from exploring your legal options.