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One of the most common questions asked of Illinois medical malpractice lawyers by potential clients is, “Do I still have a chance at a case even though I signed a waiver before the operation?”

The answer is yes.  No one can legally get you to sign a form that says that they are allowed to screw up.  They might, wisely so, advise you of some of the possible bad outcomes of a surgery.  If you get hurt over something that’s a predictable risk of a procedure you probably don’t have a case anyway.  For example, it’s not uncommon to have a colonoscopy and end up with a nicked colon that requires additional surgery.  Waiver or no waiver, that is almost never a case.

But if you go in for surgery and are given no much anesthesia, resulting in brain damage, the doctor can’t defend himself by saying that you signed a waiver.  Or if they try it won’t be successful.

I run a lot of distance races and every one that I enter requires me to waive my right to sue anyone for any reason.  If you are running the Chicago Marathon for example, if you break your ankle because Gatorade at a drink station caused you to slip, you probably wouldn’t win a lawsuit because that’s a foreseeable risk of doing a marathon.

On the other hand, if you were running in the marathon and a car being driver by the race director veered in to your path hitting you, you would certainly have a case if you were hurt.

Getting hurt doesn’t mean you have a case.  And signing a waiver doesn’t mean you are out of luck.