Vet Malpractice: Should You Hire a Lawyer?

23 January 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog


Vets have a duty of care to treat animals to set medical standards. If a vet has injured your pet or made it ill, say during a botched surgery or because of negligent care, then you may be angry enough to do something about it.

While you may get some satisfaction from reporting the vet to the authorities, this may not give you complete closure or solve all your problems. Consulting a lawyer who specialises in pet law may help. How can a lawyer help?

Recovering the Costs of Treatment

Vets' fees aren't cheap. While you may not mind paying for treatment if it helps your pet stay healthy or recover from an illness or injury, you may not be so happy if your vet's treatment wasn't up to standard.

If your vet failed to identify a problem with your pet or gave it inappropriate treatment, then you'll have paid money for nothing. You may have had to pay twice if you then had to take your pet to a different vet to have its problems sorted out correctly.

A lawyer can help you assess whether you can take the vet to court to claim your money back. For example, you may be able to get back the charges you paid to the vet who was at fault.

Claiming Compensation Costs

In some cases, a lawyer may be able to help you get compensation for the way your pet was treated. For example, if a pet dies because of a vet's negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation.

This may also help if you now have ongoing medical costs because of the original vet's malpractice. For example, this might apply if your pet now needs expensive surgery to fix a problem that was caused by its original treatment. Alternatively, you may have to pay regular costs for medication to treat your pet if your vet misdiagnosed an illness or condition that then got worse. This may also apply if your pet now has an ongoing problem after surgery or treatment.

Taking legal action against a negligent vet isn't always straightforward. Before you do anything, contact a lawyer that takes pet law cases and ask for a consultation. The lawyer, who has knowledge of the relevant pet laws, can assess the situation and give you advice on what to do next. This may involve making a formal complaint to a veterinary body or taking the vet to court in a civil action.