Court Deems Hospital Consent Form A “Contract Of Adhesion” in Sacramento Wrongful Death Suit, Part 9 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.)

In Wheeler, supra, the patient, Mr. Wheeler, arrived at the hospital for cardiac tests (in non-emergency circumstances), and he did not read the Consent to Admission form before signing it The court emphasized that no one at the hospital called his attention to the Arbitration Option paragraph, much less explain its implication or the options available, now was he given a copy of the document. Significantly, because Mr. Wheeler suffered injuries in the hospital that left him unable to communicate, the court relied on the declaration of his wife, who had been present with him during the admission process. It stated, “Whether a person signed a document without reading it is an inference which may rationally be drawn by a percipient witness to the circumstances surrounding the event.” Id at 362. The court found that “…the uncontradicted evidence shows that Mr. Wheeler was unaware of the existence of the “Arbitration Option” provision.” Id at 361. Moreover, under Wheeler, the general presumption that “… ordinarily one who signs a contract is bound by its terms even though he signs it without reading it was held to be … inapplicable to adhesion-type contracts.” Id at 368.

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

The principles embodied in Wheeler are paralleled in the present case, especially given the evidence establishing that Mr. Hall arrived at the hospital ER by ambulance, reporting pain at a level of 9-10/10. Given this evidence, Mr. Hall cannot be held responsible to have read and understood the independent contractor clause buried within the Form, nor can this provision of this standard adhesion contract be enforced, as ample authority has firmly established a patient who is in the throes of a medical emergency-or even a non-emergency hospital patient-is not held to the same standards as a healthy individual contemplating a business transaction in a normal situation.

Thus, it would be manifestly unjust to deny such a person, especially one who died as the result of negligence suffered at the hands those on whom he depended for help, the right to seek redress for such negligence because he failed to survive it. See Id; Stanhope, supra, 54 C.A.2d at 146; Tunkl; supra 60 Cal. 2d 92.


Accordingly, for the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiffs respectfully requests the Court remove the issue of physician agency from the jury’s consideration, and rule that the clause at issue is void and has no legal effect herein as a matter of law; and the Court should further rule that all physicians who attended Mr. Hall during his stay at Universal are declared to be ostensible agents of the hospital, as a matter of law.

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

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