Suing Your Doctor Based on Lack of Informed Consent

Your Doctor Must Disclose the Risks of Certain Medical Procedures

As a medical professional, your doctor is obligated to inform you about the risks involved in a proposed procedure. This is known as “informed consent.” If you do not understand the risks associated with a procedure, it would be impossible to make an educated decision about your health—which is why your doctor has a legal duty to provide this information. If your informed consent is not obtained and you are subsequently injured, you may have the right to sue.

When you agree to participate in any type of medical procedure, treatment or test, your doctor will usually ask you to sign a consent form. If you sign, you would be providing express consent (as opposed to implied consent); however, this act alone does not prove that you gave informed consent. Your doctor must still discuss the procedure with you and help you to understand the risks involved, as this could sway your decision about going through with the treatment.

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Understanding the Two Types of Consent Claims in Tennessee

As an injured patient, you may be able to assert one of two consent claims against your doctor. The first involves the theory of “medical battery.” If your doctor performs a medical procedure without your consent—for example, amputating your right leg after receiving consent to amputate the left one—you would be able to sue under a theory of medical battery.

The second involves lack of informed consent. If your doctor performs a medical procedure after you provided consent, but you were not aware of the potential risks or alternative treatment options, you would be able to sue under the theory of lack of informed consent. Under either circumstance, it would not matter whether or not the procedure was negligently performed.

Some of the information that your doctor should disclose includes:

  • The general purpose of the proposed procedure.
  • Detailed information about the known risks.
  • Information about alternative treatment options.
  • The estimated success rate of the procedure.

When Informed Consent Would Not Be Required

There are certain exceptions to the informed consent standard—including emergencies that are a matter of life or death. If your doctor doesn’t have time to describe the risks involved in a procedure that could save your life, you may not have grounds to sue for medical malpractice. In this scenario, saving your life would trump other considerations. Similarly, routine procedures like checking your vitals would not require you to provide informed consent.

Establishing a Malpractice Claim Based on Lack of Consent

If you hope to recover compensation for injuries caused by a lack of informed consent, the first thing that you should do is speak with an injury lawyer in Nashville, TN. They can help you build an effective case against your doctor by establishing several important factors. First, they may need to determine whether or not another competent doctor would have disclosed the risks.

In order to prove this point, your attorney may elicit the opinion of a medical expert. Next, they may need to determine whether or not another patient with the same medical history and conditions would have changed his or her mind about the procedure if the risks were disclosed. In order to do so, they may call attention to other viable alternatives with less associated risks.

Contact Bill Easterly & Associates, for a Free Consult

Medical malpractice claims are complex, so it is highly recommended that you discuss the specifics of your case with one of our Nashville personal injury attorneys at Bill Easterly & Associates, to learn more about your options. Our firm has been able to assist thousands of clients over the last two decades, recovering millions of dollars of compensation on their behalf. You can count on us to provide the knowledgeable legal counsel that you need at this time.

Contact Bill Easterly & Associates, to schedule your free initial consultation. We represent all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay unless we win!