Sacramento Hospital’s Delay Results In Patient’s Wrongful Death, Part 4 of 9

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this wrongful death case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury action and its proceedings.)

The Consent to Admission Form, or at least the “Independent Contractor” provision, constitutes an unenforceable adhesion contract.

The evidence of record established these facts as undisputed:

1. The admission form signed by Mr. Hall at Universal contained a provision characterizing Universal physicians as independent contractors, which was located approximately two-thirds down from the top of the document.

2. This independent contractor provision was in the same small print as the rest of the document, was not in bold type, highlighted, or in any way emphasized or set apart from the rest of the text so as to draw the reader’s notice. Absolutely no evidence was offered suggesting that Mr. Hall’s attention was drawn to this provision in any way, either in writing or orally.

3. Mr. Hall was required to sign the form in order to receive admission and treatment at Universal, and had little if any bargaining power under the circumstances (which he was incapable of exercising at that time, even if it existed).

A contract of adhesion has been defined as ” … a standardized contract, which, imposed and drafted by the party of superior bargaining strength, relegates to the subscribing party only the opportunity to adhere to the contract or reject it.” Bruni v. Didion (4th App. Dist. 2008) 160 Cal. App. 4th 1272, 1289. Stated another way, ” … a contract of adhesion is a standardized contract drafted by the party with stronger bargaining power, such that the weaker party has no choice other than to accept it or reject it.” Id at 1291.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

See also Wheeler v. St. Joseph Hospital (1976) 63 C.A.3d 345, 356 (The term “adhesion contract” refers to standardized contract forms offered to consumers of goods and services on essentially a “take it or leave it” basis without affording the consumer a realistic opportunity to bargain and under such conditions that the consumer cannot obtain the desired product or services except by acquiescing…) While adhesion contracts are not per se unenforceable, A provision which limits the duties or liability of the stronger party will not be enforced against the forced adherent absent plain and clear notification of the terms and an understanding consent thereto. Id at 357. (See Part 5 of 9.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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