Can I Sue My Veterinarian for An Injury to My Pet

Can I Sue My Veterinarian for An Injury to My Pet?

You may sue a veterinarian if a pet gets injured through malpractice, incompetence, or even carelessness. However, pursuing a case is not as practical as it may seem.

Pet owners visit the veterinarian at least once a year. Finding an exceptional veterinarian is challenging, considering that pet parents have to resort to the closest veterinarian they have despite their skill set.

Different Medical malpractice cases in the veterinary area have always been at a minimum level. The compensatory amount awarded for the damages is low as well. For this reason, even tho charges are pressed, they are rarely followed through since it’s impractical. In addition to receiving low compensatory charges, the attorney fees, finding evidence, and all these are considered a hassle, and most cases slip through.

So yes, you can sue your veterinarian if there is evidence. Below are a few explanations about malpractice and the damages that are caused.

How and When Can you Sue?

  • There are many ways to approach claims. One can approach a small claims court. It only provides a minimal claim for your damages but is not much of a hassle.
  • You can sue the veterinarian or a hospital, institute, etc., that hired the said veterinarian. Most of these cases are not followed through because there is not much to gain, too many expenses, and it is highly time-consuming.
  • A pet owner can end a complaint to the state licensing board for veterinary and inform them about the situation. It can help in suspending or, depending on the situation, revoking the veterinarian’s license. It can also help restrict the vet from committing the same mistakes and help save other animals in the process.
  • If you were injured by malpractice or simple negligence, you should visit an attorney as soon as possible. It might differ based on the state in which it is based.

What is Medical Malpractice in the Veterinary?

It is considered malpractice if a veterinarian has harmed or killed an animal due to negligence or carelessness. It is the same as medical malpractice, but it’s meant for animals.

It is the failure of the veterinarian to provide the treatment and proper care that an animal deserves. It can be direct or indirect and may or may not result in death. However, any harm caused because of the incompetence of the veterinarian can be considered malpractice. The said incompetence can be of various kinds; however, if it resulted in an injury, damage, or loss of the animal, it can be considered. Some of the medical malpractice claims that are most common are delaying diagnosis, misdiagnosis, etc.

Not all medical errors are considered malpractice. For example, if your pet’s condition continues to deteriorate after treatment, it cannot necessarily mean that the vet can get sued for malpractice.

What to Prove?

Proving your claims to ensure that you win a lawsuit for malpractice is essential. Proper records for each category are required while submitting it to the court. It moves the case further without much resistance, helps strengthen the claim, and provides the evidence to ensure a more straightforward win. Below are a few of the main points that have to be proved to ensure that you win.

Accepting Responsibility

A vet is responsible for treating the pet, and they have to provide information about the treatment, different options that can be looked for, etc. There should be that the veterinarian agreed to treat your pet, and proof of the same is exceptionally valid in most cases. If the vet accepts to teat and continues to deny treatment to the animal, it can cause harm to the animal depending on its current condition.

Professional Standards

Proof regarding the incompetence of the veterinarian should also be proved. Depending on a different treatment, ensuring that the professional standard isn’t met will improve your chances of winning the case. A set standard or quality is required while treating an animal. If the circumstances are along these lines, it has to ensure that these specifications weren’t met.

Harm

It means a kind of harm the pet has gone through or if the pet was killed. Proof of the animal’s injury and a postmortem certificate can also be provided in the case of the animal’s death. Making sure that the reason for the same was because of the veterinarian’s actions is an essential part of the medical malpractice claims.

Result

The result of the harm and the damage that was caused to the owner of the animal should also be specified.

It can include the emotional turmoil suffered by the owner or the result that occurred because of the incompetence of the veterinarian.

It also consists of the damage caused to the animal because of the negligence or malpractice that in any way led to injury or harm.

Negligence or Malpractice?

All the mistakes that occur don’t necessarily mean that it was malpractice. There are negligences as well. The pets can get injured by negligence, like mishandling the pet before the treatment. One thing considered negligence is letting a dog escape when the door is left open carelessly. Forgetting to provide food, mishandling, etc., are also considered negligence.

In these cases, veterinarians are liable for negligence lawsuits. However, it is considered malpractice if the veterinarian employs workers who are untrained or unsupervised.

The claim can be provided based on the damage caused, and the emotional turmoil caused by the pet owner is also considered in some cases; there are certain limitations, and it may require a professional to ensure the type of claim needed. However, one must go through the procedural requirements and the statute of limitations.

A few examples of negligence in veterinary medicine include prescribing an inappropriate course of treatment, not communicating effectively with the owner of the pets, not obtaining the required consent, etc.

Who Can Sue?

In medical malpractice cases, anyone whose pet has been harmed or injured because of the incompetence of the veterinarian has the right to sue the veterinarian or the hospital that employed the said veterinarian. It is required to hire a trained employee and ensure that the veterinarian is not incompetent. It is up to them to reach out to the small claims court.

The damages caused by the veterinarian are completely valid, and the pet owner has the right to approach the court; however, at most times, the cases are modest, and since the claims received for the damages caused are very few, there are very few cases that go to court.

If the pet has been subject to malpractice at the hands of the veterinarian, it is entirely acceptable to sue. However, compared to previous cases, it is less practical than it may seem, according to various sources.

Complaint Against Veterinarians to License Board

  • The veterinary field has a public regulatory board; its main aim is to regulate the practice of veterinary medicine. There will be a board for each jurisdiction that helps the public’s welfare.
  • Once a complaint goes through, the practitioner’s license is at risk. Based on the complaint and the claim, there are chances that the license can either be suspended or revoked altogether.
  • Posting a complaint is an easy affair. There is an official form for complaints, which can be either downloaded or sent via contact (email, writing, calling, etc.)
  • It is a legal process and can result in disciplinary action from the side of the licensing board, depending on the complaint. The board is liable to review the complaint and take the necessary action required by the complaint.

There are a few ways in which a situation like so can be handled. While negligence is not always considered malpractice, not giving the necessary required care can be claimed as a case of negligence. Hiring untrained employees, not providing the promised care or treatment, etc., can result in grave consequences.

Conclusion

While most lawsuits against veterinarians are considered impractical, bringing justice to your animal and the injuries suffered is essential. An animal is considered personal property, and the recovery charges that the court offers for damage are limited only to the cost of replacing the animal.

The lack of monetary damages is disheartening for most pet owners; however, ensuring that the responsible veterinarian is held for the negligence caused can come as an assurance. It also helps to provide that further animals are not injured.

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