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Veterinary Malpractice Lawyers

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What Is Veterinary Malpractice?

Veterinary malpractice is a veterinarian failing to meet the standard of care when providing healthcare to your pet, as well as causing a preventable injury. Veterinarians are professionals and have a different standard of care compared to standard personal injury cases.

What Is the Standard of Care?

To prove that veterinary malpractice occurred, a plaintiff must show that the veterinarian deviated from the normal standard of care. Standard of care for a professional essentially means the normal practices and protocols associated within the field. The standard of care for a veterinarian is the level of care that would be expected of a veterinarian with ordinary skills and experience.

My Pet Is Injured, How Can I Prove There Was Veterinary Malpractice?

To prove that your pet was the victim of veterinary malpractice, you must be able to show three things:

  • The vet did not act in a reasonable manner: Oftentimes you will need the expert testimony of another vet to prove that your vet fell below the standard of care.
  • The vet’s actions caused the pet’s injury: If your pet suffers from a known side effect of a procedure, you cannot sue the vet for malpractice even if he did perform the procedure in a negligent manner.
  • Your pet must have suffered an injury: Simply showing negligence is not enough to prove malpractice. You must also show that the negligence caused some harm to you, such as emotional distress or economic loss.

What Kinds of Defenses Can a Veterinarian Raise in Response to a Malpractice Claim?

Veterinarians have several defenses available to them. The most common are:

  • Statute of limitations: Veterinary malpractice claims must be brought within a certain period of time.  If that period of time passes without a lawsuit being filed, you cannot sue no matter how obviously wrong or negligent the vet was. The statute of limitations for a malpractice claim varies from state to state but is generally shorter than for other personal injury claims.
  • Good Samaritan: Some states recognize a “Good Samaritan” law that makes it so a vet is not held to the ordinary standard of care when he is acting in an emergency capacity. If a vet helps an animal at the scene of an accident, he may be safe from veterinary malpractice as long as he is not grossly negligent.

Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If you believe you have been the victim of veterinary malpractice, you may wish to hire a malpractice lawyer. An experienced malpractice lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and offer you advice. If you have a strong case, a malpractice lawyer will be able to represent you in court and ensure your rights are represented.

Photo of page author Jessica Tran

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-28-2018 10:52 PM PST

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