Informed Consent in Georgia Medical Malpractice Lawsuits


May 23, 2013

Doctors have many responsibilities to their patients but probably one of the most important ones is that of obtaining informed consent to any medical procedure or course of treatment.

Informed consent is medical and legal terminology that refers to a doctor’s obligation to fully inform his or her patient about the risks involved in any proposed medical procedure or treatment before the patient consents to proceed. This gives the patient the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to undergo the procedure or treatment.

If a doctor does not obtain informed consent from a patient and performs a procedure or treatment which injures the patient, the lack of informed consent may be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even if you have signed a form giving informed consent that does not mean you don't have any recourse in the event of injury. You are expressly consenting to certain risks inherent to the medical procedure but not to having the procedure performed in a negligent manner.

Informed consent needs to consist of an actual conversation between doctor and patient with the doctor explaining fully the details of the procedure or treatment and the risks involved for the patient. The doctor also will normally have the patient sign a consent form that details the procedure and risks. This type of consent is normally referred to as "express consent".

The other type of consent that can be given by a patient is called "implied consent." This is often inferred when a patient is already being operated on, and the doctor needs to perform a necessary procedure in the process of performing a procedure to which the patient has already given informed consent.

If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice due to lack of informed consent, the lawsuit that you can file is not limited to your medical doctor. The suit can apply to nurses that were involved in the procedure, the facility where the treatment or procedure took place, and anyone else that provided health care services to you. You could potentially be entitled to be compensated for your injuries.

An experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if your case is viable, and what actions need to be taken to protect those rights, including compliance with legal time deadlines.

There are certain situations that exist where informed consent is not required to be given:

  • A doctor may be excused from obtaining informed consent in a medical emergency when the doctor is trying to save the patient’s life.
  • If communicating the risks of the situation will put the patient under significant emotional distress or bring physical harm to the patient.

In most situations where a minor child is involved, parents can provide informed consent for treatment. A minor is generally considered to be a child under the age of 18 years old.

Others that may not be able to give informed consent for themselves are mentally incompetent persons. Usually in these cases there is an appointed guardian in place that can make these decisions for that person. The informed consent for the procedure needs to be obtained from these guardians.

Due to the very complex nature of medical malpractice claims, it is important that a victim consult with an experienced attorney to tackle the legal issues and to protect his or her interests. Montlick and Associates will work hard to protect your interests and get you the compensation you deserve.

Our Georgia medical malpractice lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24 hour Live Online Chat.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.