Veterinaries are supposed to care for our pets when they are at their most vulnerable. However, there are times when a vet’s negligence or careless act can result in harm or even death of the pets. In such cases, they are responsible for the outcome and may be required to compensate the pet owner for any losses.
If your pet is injured, or he or she died following the negligent or careless actions of a veterinary, then this article will guide you on the right steps to follow to ensure you get the most out of the process.
Understanding veterinary malpractice
Veterinary malpractice follows the same principles as the medical malpractice law. In this case, malpractice occurs when the veterinarian injures or kills the animal because of poor judgment, incompetence, or a certain kind of carelessness. Note that not all medical errors are malpractice. Again, just because a medical condition worsens following treatment does not automatically translate to misconduct on the veterinarian’s side. To win a malpractice case, you need to prove the following things:
- That there was a doctor-client relationship and that the vet accepted to treat the pet.
- That the vet did not meet the standard of care that another professional of his/her caliber would, under the same circumstances
- That the pet was injured, killed or its condition got worse due to the vet’s carelessness or incompetence and
- That because of the harm, you experienced some type of damages or harm
Proving a veterinary malpractice
To prove that the vet was liable for the injury or death of your pet, you will need to show that he or she fell short of the standard of care. As mentioned earlier, the standard of care means what an average vet would do in the same situation. Note that the professional standard of a specialized vet is higher than a regular vet and will be matched against other specialists too. Either way, you will have to bring in an expert witness (another vet) to testify in your favor.
In addition to not meeting the standard of care threshold, you also have to show that the injury or death of your pet harmed you in one way or another. Often, this doesn’t include the pain and suffering that are associated with the loss or seeing your pet in pain.
Damages in veterinary malpractice cases
The law allows you to recover damages for your loss once you prove the malpractice elements. Examples of damages you can receive as compensation include any medical expense that arises due to the injury as well as the replacement or market value of the pet that you’d need to buy as per of the same age, breed, training, condition, and breed. In some states, the law takes the pet’s sentimental value into consideration.
Bringing in a lawyer
Vet malpractice cases can get real messy quick. It can be difficult for you to prove that the vet was indeed negligent or careless. Talking to an experienced Los Angeles veterinary attorney can help you determine whether you have the case, and the right course of legal action to take.