Consent is a legal expression of the will to do or be involved in something. Simply put, it’s when someone agrees to the event or activity fully understanding its nature and potential risks. Consequently, a consent form is a legal document that records the person’s permission to be involved in a specific event or activity. It’s usually a one-page document that includes the individual’s contact details and signature.
This form is a common practice for medical purposes and ensures that health care providers and institutions will be released for responsibility should medical treatments harm someone. However, this document has a broader use, covering such spheres as education, entertainment, and business. Our free consent form template is designed for you to secure any required person’s consent and the guidelines on our website will help you create a high-quality document. But first, let’s dive a little deeper into when and how a consent form can be helpful.
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As mentioned above, using a consent form is not limited to several purposes. This document comes in handy, for example, when agreeing to organ donation, drug testing, or a criminal history check. Let’s have a look at the essential spheres where corresponding consent forms are used.
Medical treatments or interventions that involve the risk to a patient’s health require obtaining informed consent. “Informed consent” means that a health care provider explains everything that will happen in straightforward language including the nature of the procedure, related risks, and consequences. The doctor is obliged to disclose all of the details and answer all of the patient’s questions.
Typical situations when you need a patient’s consent are medical and biological study or experiments, organ or blood donation, artificial termination of a pregnancy, and artificial fertilization. The most widely used medical consent forms are:
As a general rule, a patient must sign a consent form before receiving treatments. But sometimes, it can be impossible due to unconsciousness or critical condition. These cases are considered exceptions to the rules. For example, if a patient needs immediate treatment and cannot give consent, health care providers are allowed to treat them without a consent form to save their life. Alternatively, doctors may receive such consent from the patient’s relatives or agents, if any.
According to the law, minors cannot consent to events or activities involving certain risks without appropriate authorization. As a general rule, parents or guardians sign the consent form for a child and authorize them to participate in educational activities or receive medical treatments. The most widely used consent forms for minors are:
Every company and business tends to hire competent employees without any hidden depths. More and more employers are becoming inclined to run criminal and credit checks of the applicants to identify the reliable ones. Such checks require the job applicant to sign the following consent forms:
The industry of media and entertainment is also closely related to consent forms. In this case, you consent to the usage of your image and likeness. It may seem less serious than other consent documents. However, this sphere should not be underestimated. Without the talents’ consent, photographers or production companies may be sued for unauthorized image usage. The most widely used consent forms are:
Consent forms are also used for business purposes by companies whose services may involve the risk of injuries or side-effects. Therefore, they need a participant’s or client’s consent to release themselves from responsibility. As a rule, these companies work with extreme sports or in the beauty industry.
Some landlords are more careful than others and request their potential tenants to permit them to run a background check. If the tenant agrees, they must sign a Tenant Background Authorization Form. The tenant’s check usually includes running credit and criminal history checks. Unlike employers, landlords may charge a fee for carrying out this check.
A Sexual Consent Form is used when two adults agree to participate in sexual intercourse. This form sets out personal boundaries and outlines activities suitable and acceptable for both parties.
Technically, you can give your consent to anything. Consent can be voluntary or forced, written or verbal, active or passive. But not every consent can be considered legal. That’s why it’s necessary to understand the requirements that make a person’s consent and corresponding consent form legally acceptable.
The first requirement is the validity of consent. To give valid consent, the consenter must realize the nature and purposes of further actions. An adequate realization can be influenced by alcohol or drug intoxication, a certain state of mind, and age. Thus, to give valid consent, a person should be of sound mind and legal age and free of alcohol or drug influence.
The legal age of consent varies from state to state. In the majority of states, it’s 18. However, Alabama and Nebraska require to be of the age of 19 to give consent. As to sexual consent, the legal age is lower. The most common age of sexual consent in the US is 16 years. In eleven states, including California, New York, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Delaware, the age of sexual consent is 18.
The next essential requirement to legal consent is its voluntary nature. Consent must not be received under coercion or duress. It means that if someone is committing or threatening to commit any violence to the person to obtain their consent, the consent will not be valid. Additionally, you cannot consider consent to be valid if it’s obtained by fraud or deception. If someone intentionally disinforms or hides a part of information to deceive a person and get their consent, such consent will also be invalid.
The components of consent forms may vary depending on their types. However, every consent form should include the following information:
Receiving a person’s consent is a complex process. You should prepare a detailed document and ensure that the person clearly understands forthcoming services or procedures. If you need to obtain consent to a specific event or activity, you can choose among our free consent form templates. Working with our form template requires the following steps:
Step 1. Identify the parties
The first step of filling out the consent form template is identifying the individual who agrees to specific activities or procedures. Depending on the consent type, you may also need to include the releasee’s contacts. You should indicate their contact information, including the address and phone numbers.
Step 2. Define the purpose
The nature and purpose of the forthcoming event must be clearly described in the document. The consenter needs to know all the information and get necessary instructions and details related to the events or services.
Step 3. Indicate the governing law
It’s crucial to mention the governing law since it may influence the legal age of consent. You are recommended to consult your local requirements to have a clear understanding of when minors need authorization from a parent or guardian.
Step 4. Sign the form
The last step is to review and sign the consent form adding the date of signatures—both the consenter and releasee sign such forms. The parties are allowed to use electronic signatures to record the consent.