It’s becoming commonplace for injured victims to be asked to sign a Consent Form when they arrive at the physician’s office for a medical examination or an insurer examination (IE).
It’s important for claimants to understand that signing a Consent Form may or may not endanger your rights. Moreover, there are no Ontario laws or Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule provisions that require you to sign a Consent Form prior to obtaining an IE.
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5 Causes for Concern on a Consent Form
Many Consent Forms are relatively straightforward and benign, and contain no language or provisions that negate your rights. In these cases, it might be perfectly acceptable to sign so that you can move forward with your exam and your claim.
However, some physicians’ Consent Forms contain “offensive” provisions that could compromise your rights. Claims Canada explains that certain provisions should be removed before signing:
- Disclaimers – look for declaimers that negate or limit the physician’s liability, e.g., “I release Dr. X from any liability arising from this IE.”
- Overly-broad statements – look for any statements that might give the physician too much authority in your assessments. If, for instance the Consent Form provides that the doctor may assess your need for attendant care, the doctor might have the ability to minimize your injury classification, which in turn, will affect the amount of compensation and benefits to which you’re entitled.
- Vagueness – vague or complicated language can mask ineptitude. If you’re signing a document, ask for it explained in plain terms. You aren’t a doctor and you shouldn’t be made to feel stupid because you don’t know all the jargon.
- Information sharing – if the Consent Form contains provisions that authorize the physician to share your data or “release of information beyond the scope of this IE,” as Claims Canada puts it, you might not want to sign it.
- Blank spaces – ensure that all blanks on the form are filled out so that the physician cannot return later to complete it after you’ve signed.
To sign or not to sign?
Even though Consent Forms are not mandatory, the physician may refuse to perform your IE if you don’t sign. This could stall your claims process. If you’re concerned about the form, you can bring it to an injury lawyer to review and advise you appropriately.
If you’re uncomfortable with the Consent Form the physician requests you sign, you can either allow your lawyer to settle it or locate another practitioner who doesn’t require a Consent Form. Do not go into the assessment having signed a Consent Form with which you’re uncomfortable. Voice your concerns ahead of time so you don’t run into problems later in the claims process.
Free Consultation with a Lawyer in Ontario
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer, contact our lawyers at Preszler Law Firm in Ontario. We can review your Consent Form, advise you on your rights, and help you navigate through the claims process. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® today, or contact us using our online contact form.