Does medical malpractice and negligence apply to vets?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does medical malpractice and negligence apply to vets?

I recently had a puppy hit by a car and spent $1,100 on X-rays and pain killers to find out he had one small fracture in his right paw for which he got a cast. I took him to another vet after a week of whining and limping to find that the vet missed that every one of the puppy’s toes were broken and crooked and that he had a rupture in the ACL of the hind leg. We’re looking at 2 surgeries to keep the puppy growing comfortably but it would have been missed and caused our puppy a pinful and difficult life had we not switched vets. We are looking at suing the original vet for what we paid him, as well as surgery costs.

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Alaska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Medical malpractice and negligence apply to vets.
Medical malpractice is negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable medical practitioner in the community would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the first vet, it may be possible to settle the case with the vet's malpractice insurance carrier.  Your claim filed with the malpractice insurance carrier should include the medical bills and medical reports.
If the case is settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the malpractice insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the first vet.
If the case is NOT settled with the malpractice insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the first vet must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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