Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit if I Signed a Waiver?

November 16, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit if I Signed a Waiver?

Waiver or Release Forms and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice affects thousands of Americans every year and leads to significant injuries that ruin lives. Patients put their trust in doctors and other medical professionals that they expect will provide them with effective care and treatment yet they end up suffering injuries due to negligence. Medical malpractice claims are regularly filed by those that have suffered because of negligence in their medical care which has led to healthcare providers taking precautions to help avoid legal action in the event something goes wrong with a patient's treatment. It has become the norm for patients to sign waivers and release forms before undergoing treatments that affirm they are aware of all the associated risks of their treatment and verifies their informed consent. Many people end up suffering injuries because of medical malpractice after they have signed waivers like this fear that they will be unable to file a lawsuit because of the waiver.

What Exactly is a Waiver?

It is not unusual to have to fill out a lot of paperwork when dealing with anything healthcare-related. Documentation is extremely important in this field and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for some patients. Before patients undergo certain procedures they are expected to sign a waiver. This document will verify that a patient is aware of whatever risks a treatment will come with (infection, side effects, etc.) and will verify that a patient is giving informed consent to perform the treatment.  Informed consent can be defined as permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, risks, and benefits. It is not good enough for a healthcare provider to simply have you sign a piece of paper that says you will not sue them if their treatment injures you. A doctor needs to go through all the risks with you and make sure you understand them. The waiver will state that you waive your right to take legal action against the medical professional(s) providing the treatment and the institution it is taking place at over injuries that occur due to the risks you the patient are now informed of. The waiver basically is formal documentation of you giving up your right to sue the doctor or hospital in exchange for them performing the procedure you need. There is typically very little that can be done without you signing one of these waivers which can put patients in a tough spot when they do end up suffering a severe injury because of something going wrong with their treatment.

How Can You File a Medical Malpractice Claim After Signing a Waiver?

In most cases, when someone signs a waiver before their medical treatment they lose their ability to take legal action against the medical professionals and institutions responsible for their treatment over injuries they suffered under their care. However, there are some instances where someone may still be able to take legal action despite signing a waiver.  Sometimes it can be proven that a patient did not provide informed consent. A patient may have signed a form but they need to be properly informed of all the information regarding their treatment. Say a person is about to undergo surgery. If a patient is simply given a waiver to sign without so much as a word from a doctor or even some literature explaining their situation then it can be argued that their consent was uninformed allowing them to take legal action. 

Gross Negligence and Medical Malpractice 

In other cases, a patient may suffer an injury because of their treatment when the party administering treatment is grossly negligent. Waivers protect doctors from lawsuits when something goes wrong that is beyond their control like a high chance of infection or the rejection of a transplanted organ but if they are grossly negligent then they may be vulnerable to legal action.  Gross negligence is when a healthcare provider acts in a reckless manner that disregards the expected level of care they are expected to provide. If a doctor neglects to do something that another doctor in their position with the same education and experience would do then a waiver would not stop you from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit over the injuries they caused you.  For example, a patient may undergo surgery and sign a waiver beforehand stating that they are aware of the risks like infections and such. Afterward, they develop an infection and upon investigation, it is found that the cause is a surgical instrument left in the site where the surgery was performed. There are proper procedures in place to ensure that accidents like this do not happen and a doctor neglecting to follow these procedures demonstrates a deviation from the expected standard of care which can be considered negligent.  

Seek an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice cases can be tricky. Health care providers pay large amounts of money every year toward their malpractice insurance, and they have powerful insurance companies and lawyers on their side. These insurance companies go to great lengths to defend medical malpractice cases. You should have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has years of experience when it comes to ensuring that clients do not get taken advantage of by insurance companies and providing top tier legal representation that recovers much-needed compensation for injured plaintiffs. When Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA represents you we provide the personal attention to your one expects from smaller firms while delivering big firm results. If you suspect that you sustained injuries and damages as a result of a health care provider's negligence, the medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA may be able to help. Contact us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's offices. Please call us at 27-451-6900 or fill out a contact form online. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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