Is an arbitration agreement signed while on medication that impairs your mental awareness null and void?.

Asked over 3 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

I was diagnosed by one doctor who recommended surgery. He prescribed a medicine to treat anxiety before surgery. Then he referred me to another doctor to do the surgery. While on this medication that I had never taken before in my life I signed an arbitration agreement which I did not fully understand because I was "out of it". I wouldn't even drive a car or operate heavy machinery on that medication. Did I give up my Constitutional right to a jury trial in the event of medical malpractice?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Todd Eric Gallinger

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . It is a difficult question which depends on your level of impairment. This is strictly a factual issue, so you would likely need to find an expert who could testify as to your mental state. It is impossible to advise one way or another without a detailed examination, which you should contact an attorney to do.

  2. Ann Penners Bergen

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Oh, you poor thing!

    Mr. Gallagher is correct that the answer to this question will depend on the facts in the case. There are two different rules going on here and which one applies -- well,that's the question. First rule is that people are presumed to know what they are signing. Second rule has the opposite effect, that if you sign something under duress or because you are impaired, it can't be used against you. That is more difficult to prove.

    So, as Mr. Gallagher stated, contact a medical malpractice doctor and get his or her opinion. Good luck!

    Legal Disclaimer: My response to your question is not legal advice because i don't have all the facts and you have never hired me as your lawyer.

  3. Daniel O'Brien


    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . The other posters are right on the money. The impairment issue is factually intensive, just as one person's physical reaction to a drug is different. Is your concern about the arbitration provision theoretical or do you have a complaint regarding the services provided by the surgeon? If you have a problem with the care provided, then your personal injury attorney can address that matter. Talk with an attorney about your remedies in an arbitration versus a jury trial. Juries are hit and miss, although they are more likely to give bigger judgments. Arbitrations, however, are usually not appealable except in very limited circumstances. So, if you get a favorable result, your award shouldn't get caught up in the appeals process that could take years.

    This discussion is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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