Charlottesville VA Hospital Accident Lawyers

What Is Informed Consent?

Charlottesville VA Hospital Accident LawyersVictims who are thinking about filing a medical malpractice claim against a doctor or medical professional will likely be asked by their Charlottesville, Virginia hospital accident lawyers whether or not the medical professional in question received your informed consent.

Doctors must fully inform their patients about any risks involved in any procedure or treatment. If the patient does not give their consent and ends up injured as a result of the treatment or procedure, they may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.

What is Informed Consent?

Most medical procedures or treatments have some level of risk involved, and it is the doctor’s responsibility to give their patient all of the information about the procedure or treatment so that the patient can choose how to proceed. Sometimes patients hear the risks and decide that they would rather not undergo the test, procedure, or treatment. Regardless of the patient’s choice, it is simply important that they have all of the facts about the case.

Patients are typically required to sign a consent form that states they understand the risks, but just because a patient signs a document it does not mean that they have given informed consent. Again, it is the doctor’s responsibility to have a conversation with the patient to fully discuss the details.

Whether or not a patient can even proceed with a malpractice claim is dependent on whether or not they gave their informed consent. If a doctor neglects to lay out the variables and risks for the patient and the patient would have opted out of the treatment or surgery, they may be able to sue for medical malpractice.

What Do Doctors Have to Tell Patients?

Informed consent is tricky because doctors are allowed to use their best judgement about what risks are necessary and unnecessary to disclose to the patient. As Charlottesville VA hospital accident lawyers may explain to their clients, what they must disclose is determined by two factors: Whether or not a different doctor would have disclosed the same risks and whether or not a patient in the same position would have made a different decision if informed of the risk.

Do Any Procedures NOT Require Informed Consent?

  • Emergencies

There is no time to describe all of the risks and possible outcomes to a patient whose life is in direct danger. A doctor or medical professional in this situation is simply trying to save the patient’s life. Therefore, regardless of whether or not the patient would have allowed the treatment, the patient cannot sue for lack of informed consent.

  • Emotionally Distressed Patients

If a patient is so emotionally distressed that they will refuse a treatment that they need, the doctor may not be required to get the patient’s informed consent. If getting informed consent and explaining the risks and benefits of a procedure would make a patient ill with anxiety or stress, a doctor can make a judgement call about how much to disclose to the patient. The caveat is that the doctor must then be able to defend themselves and demonstrate why they did not disclose all of the risks to the procedure. 

Medical malpractice claims and proving a lack of informed consent can be difficult to navigate, but contacting one of the Charlottesville, Virginia hospital accident lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. is simple. Contact our experienced Charlottesville, Virginia hospital accident lawyers by calling our office and setting up an appointment today.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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