What Rights are you Signing Away with a Medical Waiver?

Two doctors performing surgery on a patient

When you’re injured, the last thing you want to think about is signing paperwork. But sometimes medical waivers may be required. This can have implications for both you and your injury! It’s important to understand what these are and whether you can still sue if something goes wrong.

In this article, we will discuss the implications of signing a medical waiver and what compensation or legal considerations may be available to you.

What is a medical waiver?

A medical waiver is a document that releases a medical provider from liability if something goes wrong during treatment. This means that if you get injured or have complications because of your medical care, you may not be able to sue the doctor or hospital. 

Medical liability waivers explain the patient’s duties in relation to treatment, privacy and legal rights, as well as hospitals’ or medical providers’ liabilities. The patient must sign and date the patient waiver form, or their parent/guardian, spouse, or other legal representative.

A standard medical waiver explains:

  • What the medical procedure entails, as well as its risks and benefits
  • The patient’s responsibilities
  • The potential risks inherent in the surgery
  • A liability clause warning that the patient may not sue if they suffer any harm

When to use medical liability waiver

Administrators may use a medical liability waiver in several situations. For example, if you take part in a clinical trial or research study, the organizers may ask you to sign one. Or, if you are going to receive care from a new provider, they may have you sign a medical waiver before treatment.

A medical liability waiver protects medical professionals, businesses or organizations in the event of an unfortunate accident or unexpected medical outcome because of medical treatment. 

Is it possible to sue if you signed a medical waiver?

Yes, it is still possible to sue if you have signed a medical waiver. However, it may be more difficult to win your case. You will probably need to prove that the medical provider was negligent, and that this led to your injury or complication.

For example, if you had medical complications because your doctor failed to follow the standard of care, you may still have a case against them even if you signed a medical waiver.

However, it will not protect you, for example, if a medical provider treated you with the same care as a reasonably competent medical practitioner in a similar situation.

Compensation or legal considerations

If you suffered an injury because of medical care, it may entitle you to compensation. This can include:

  • The cost of the surgery if applicable
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Costs associated with ongoing medical expenses
  • Damages for decreased quality of life because of medical treatment or surgery
  • If the victim is unable to work, the courts will compensate him or her for missed income.

While medical liability waivers can protect medical providers from being sued, they don’t always hold up in court. If you’ve been injured because of medical care, it’s important to speak with a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Interested in learning more about medical liability waivers? WaiverForever offers a number of waiver templates including liability waivers and medical consent forms.