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You need surgery. Your surgeon demands you sign a waiver of liability before going ahead with any surgery. Can he force you to give up your right to sue in order to have your surgical procedure?

You need surgery.

You go to the best surgeon in New York.

He tells you that before going ahead with the surgery, you have to sign this piece of paper.

You glance at the paper.

It's titled “Waiver of liability.”

The only time you have seen such a document is when you went skiing and jet skiing.

In those instances the vacation resorts did not want to take any responsibility if you suffered an injury. The only way they would rent you equipment and allow you to use it was if you agreed not to bring a lawsuit and not hold them responsible if you suffered harm.

You wonder how a surgeon can ask you to sign the same type of document.

You wonder whether this is legal.

You wonder why is he asking you to sign a waiver of liability before going ahead and performing surgery on you.

If you sign this document and suffer injury as a result of the doctor's carelessness, does that mean you cannot bring a lawsuit against him seeking compensation?

Can you sign away your right to bring a lawsuit if the doctor is careless?

Can you sign away your right to bring a lawsuit at the doctor is intentionally careless?

Many believe in New York that a patient cannot sign away their right to bring a lawsuit for a doctor's carelessness. Nor can the doctor escape legal responsibility for his own incompetence simply because he coerced you into signing a piece of paper in order to perform surgery on you.

This is really a public policy argument.

We don't want physicians being able to force patients into signing a document that says if the doctor is careless, for whatever reason and you suffer injury, then there is no way for you to bring a lawsuit and obtain compensation for your injuries.

When you think about it, it's actually quite offensive.

Any doctor that tries to get you to sign such a document is trying to coerce you to give up your legal rights to sue him.

To learn even more, I invite you watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer