In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and personal injury cases, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
Understanding Veterinary Malpractice Claims In New Hampshire
Veterinary malpractice is one of the lesser known forms of personal injury law, but it offers a legal option for pet owners seeking to recoup compensation for the loss of a four legged family member. Within the legal community, veterinary malpractice is defined as a veterinarian’s failure to meet an established standard of care that results in some form of injury, or the death, of the animal he or she was treating. However, the injury must extend beyond the animal itself and extend to the pet’s owner.
In New Hampshire, the standard of care for a veterinarian is defined as the level of care that would be expected from a veterinarian of ordinary experience and skill.
My Pet Has Been Injured. How Can I Prove Malpractice Occurred?
In order to prove that your four legged friend was the victim of veterinary malpractice, there are three elements that must be proven:
§ The veterinarian did not conduct themselves with the reasonable attention or skill that would otherwise be expected by a reasonable, ordinary vet. In many scenarios, a plaintiff will require the expert testimony of another veterinarian in order to prove that the original vet was subpar to the existing standard of care.
§ The veterinarian’s actions must have been the direct cause of a pet’s injuries. If your furry companion has suffered from a known side effect of a specific procedure, then you will not be able to file a claim against your vet for malpractice – even if the procedure was conducted in a negligent manner.
§ The pet must have suffered from some form of injury. Simply proving negligence is not sufficient enough to prove that malpractice occurred. A plaintiff must also be able to demonstrate that the negligence caused some form of hardship to themselves, such as an economic loss or emotional distress.
Common Defenses to Claims of Veterinary Malpractice
When a veterinarian faces a claim of malpractice, there are several defenses available for them to use. Your NH personal injury lawyer will analyze the facts surrounding your claim and assess the best method for addressing them. Two of the most common defenses are:
§ Statute of Limitations – In the state of New Hampshire, a claim of veterinary malpractice must be filed within a specific period of time. If this statute of limitations passes without an injury claim being filed, a lawsuit cannot be filed regardless of how negligent or wrong the veterinarian was. The statute of limitations for claims of vet malpractice is generally shorter than those of other types of personal injury claims.
§ Good Samaritan Laws – Approximately 18 states in the U.S. recognize Good Samaritan laws, which do not hold veterinarians to the normal standard of care when they are acting in the capacity of an emergency. If acting at the scene of an emergency, then a vet is legally protected from malpractice claims as long as their actions are not classified as grossly negligent. Even though New Hampshire has not enacted Good Samaritan laws, a vet will occasionally attempt to raise this defense in a court of law.
Should I Hire a New Hampshire Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you believe that you and your pet have become the victims of veterinarian malpractice, then it may be prudent to hire a personal injury lawyer. The experienced lawyers at our firm can evaluate the facts of your case and offer advice regarding an appropriate course of action. Should you decide to proceed with your case, then we can ensure that your legal rights are protected and to obtain the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf. Your initial consultation is free.
Serving all of New Hampshire. Offices in Nashua, Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth.
This site does not constitute legal advice. An attorney client relationship is formed only after an agreement is entered into between an Attorney of Liberty Legal and a client is reached. Past results do not guarantee future results.
Disclaimer: Some cases are referred to other law firms with consent of client.
Liberty Legal Services PLLC. Main office: 250 Commercial St #3020 Manchester NH 03101. (603) 262-3196