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New Trend in Medical Malpractice: Veterinary Malpractice?

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers are extremely proficient in handling cases of medical malpractice injuries that affect people across Illinois. However, following a report by the Sun Sentinel, medical malpractice attorneys across the country may have to expand their practices.

As pet owners spend more and more money on veterinary health care for their animals, claims of veterinary malpractice may also rise. This month, one of the first veterinary medical malpractice cases is to be tried in court. The case revolves around the wrongful death of a stallion that allegedly died from complications associated with abdominal surgery. Earlier this year, a dog-owning family won a veterinary malpractice lawsuit against a pet surgeon who performed the wrong type of surgery on a family dog. The trend is on the rise.

Illinois medical malpractice law, as it applies to humans, is a branch of civil law that allows victims to recover damages when they are injured by careless or intentional acts of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare provider. Healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients, and when a breach of that duty causes harm to their patients, providers may be held liable for the injuries caused. Many pet owners consider their pets to be part of their families, and it conceivably follows that when the veterinary professional acts carelessly or negligently and causes harm to the animal – especially given that the veterinarian is paid for his or her services – that the vet, too, can be liable for malpractice.

Because animals are considered to be property under the law, it may be difficult for attorneys to prove damages for pain and suffering. Nevertheless, many animal owners treat their pets as part of the family, so it is plausible that damages may be awarded on the basis of loss of companionship of a loved family pet. Additionally, the Sun Sentinel reports that some attorneys have even won awards based on the theory that a pet may be property, but is a treasured family heirloom. The field of law is developing, and many more theories of law are sure to arise.

As per an article in the Wall Street Journal, the American Pet Products Association discovered that on average, Americans are spending 47% more on veterinary care for dogs, and 73% more for cats, than was the average 10 years ago. As veterinary costs rise and the amount of treatments increase, so to do the odds of medical mistakes in veterinary practice. When these cases are brought to court, it sends warnings to other veterinary doctors to be more careful in their practice.

Medical malpractice is a very serious area of law. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in handling cases against healthcare providers and hospitals on behalf of injured victims and their families.

If you or a loved one – or a loved pet – have suffered injury because of the negligent or careless acts of a healthcare professional, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights under the law.