I Signed a Medical Waiver – Can I Still Sue My Doctor?

Before undergoing most medical procedures, you will be required to sign a waiver before your doctor and their medical team will continue with your treatment. Most people do not read such waivers because they either do not have the right information to interpret the legalese there or they do not see any alternative since they have been convinced that they need the treatment being approved. Blindly signing a medical waiver or release form can be problematic, though, as most are designed to prevent you from filing a medical malpractice claim against your medical provider if something goes wrong.

Does that mean that you can’t sue your doctor if you sign a waiver? Not necessarily. Waivers are not invincible, unmovable legal objects, no matter what defense attorneys might say about them. In the right circumstances, your signature on a medical waiver could mean next to nothing, allowing you to file a medical malpractice claim unhindered.

What is a Waiver Supposed to Do?

The underlying purpose of a waiver you are required to sign before undergoing a medical procedure is to inform you of all the known risks associated with that treatment. For example, if you are agreeing to chemotherapy to fight cancer, then the waiver should clearly explain that you could and likely will experience a number of treatment side effects. The waiver should explain those risks to you and also explain that signing the waiver means you understand those risks.

However, most waivers also include additional clauses that explain how you cannot bring a lawsuit against the doctor and/or medical group if you are injured during treatment.

How You Can Still Sue After Signing a Waiver

The finest details of the waiver you sign in your doctor’s office could play the biggest role in determining how you can take legal action if you get hurt. If you were hurt through medical malpractice that went outside accepted medical standards, then you likely still have the opportunity to file a claim against your medical provider. The same is true if you were injured for any reason during a treatment that you did not approve, i.e. a procedure that was not mentioned by your doctor or in the waiver you signed.

You might also be able to seek legal recourse for injuries and wrongdoing by entering arbitration. Some medical waivers have a forced arbitration clause, which requires you to settle your grievance against your medical provider behind closed doors, rather than taking things to a civil courtroom. Forced arbitration disfavors the plaintiff, though, and usually tries to close a dispute with a lowball settlement.

Medical groups will lean into a waiver and try to argue that it blocks all possible claims and lawsuits, though, regardless of how much clear evidence of medical malpractice there might be. It is highly advised you only try to pursue a medical malpractice claim with the assistance of an experienced injury attorney, especially if you signed a waiver that was unclear to you.

Can You Sue Your Doctor? Explore Your Options Today

Contact Golomb & Honik, P.C. if you live in or around Philadelphia and have been hurt by a medical provider’s mistakes. Our law firm focuses on medical malpractice cases, especially those regarding misdiagnoses that allowed a health issue to go untreated and worsen. Throughout our many years of experience, we have reviewed all sorts of medical waivers and found ways to challenge or override them. Just remember that you are not blocked from exploring your legal options after signing a waiver. You never know what might be possible with the right legal guidance.

To begin, dial (215) 278-4449 at your first opportunity.

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