Q: Family member was told to sign paperwork that a surgey went fine while under pain medication when it didnt.
My wife's cousin recently had his appendix taken out. During the surgery they did severe damage to his bladder. While in recovery and under the influence of pain medication a nurse heavy handedly (or forced) him to sign paperwork that essentially said everything went fine to his knowledge and nothing bad happened. He is now having to have a second surgery done at a different hospital to repair the damage from the first. When he tries to discuss the matter with hospital regarding malpractice they claim he signed that form so they're not responsible, hang up, and are no longer taking his calls. He has tried to find a lawyer to hear his case but cannot afford the 20,000-100,000 price tag to even get in the door. Does he have a case? And are their any agencies he could appeal to who could assist him? We live out of state and are not sure how the laws work up in Washington.
A: That isn't the way it works (in terms of footing a $20,000 to $100,000 price tag to "get in the door"). If a Washington med mal attorney determines that the grounds for a valid case exist, it is likely that the firm would move forward with the case on a contingency basis, which means that the firm would take a percentage upon successful verdict or settlement as their attorney fee. This is something you must discuss with a firm, and many offer free consultations. Before discussing the matter further and signing any more forms he is not clear on the legal effect of, your wife's cousin should try to arrange a free initial consultation with an attorney. Does he have a case? That is something the attorney you meet with could determine, based on the medical records. Good luck to him in his healing and recovery.
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