Veterinary Malpractice - More Complex Than You Think
Veterinary malpractice cases are filed far less frequently than medical malpractice cases. Why? The tremendous expense and effort associated with malpractice cases often prompts people to take no legal action, purely out of economic concerns. Also, the law looks at animals, and their values, in a different way than animal enthusiasts do; as a result, almost every state will award significantly less if the case involves veterinary malpractice than it would award if the matter involved an injured human.
Winning a veterinary malpractice case requires proof that:
- The veterinarian had a legally recognized duty to handle a professional matter in a certain way.
- The veterinarian breached (departed from) that duty. Almost all veterinary malpractice cases will require expert witness testimony of a qualified veterinarian to prove this component.
- The veterinarian’s wrongful conduct, and not some other reason, caused the horse’s demise or devaluation.
- The sum of money lost as a result of the malpractice (damages). Damages in a veterinary malpractice action can include the horse’s fair market value or decrease in value, lost profits and others. In the overwhelming majority of states, you will not recover your attorney fees or “pain and suffering,” even if you win. A qualified expert, sometimes an equine appraiser, might need to prove the animal’s value.
In addition, or as an alternative, to a malpractice case, a horse owner might be able to file a complaint with the state board that regulates and disciplines veterinarians or has the power to control or suspend their licenses. These proceedings may not compensate you for your loss, but if successful they could result in a taking away the veterinarian’s license.
If you have any thoughts or questions about veterinary malpractice in the equine industry, please get in touch with me.
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.View All Posts by Author ›
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Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.
Honors & Recognitions
Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:
"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee
"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council
"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership
"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council
"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association
"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association
"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association
What our Equine Law Services can Provide
Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.
Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).
Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals, businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.
Representing and advising insurers on coverage and policy language as well as litigation;
Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.
Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.
Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners.
THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER
Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.
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