Smiley & Smiley, LLP

$75K Lawsuit Filed for Veterinarian Malpractice

A couple from Ellijay, GA filed a $75,000 malpractice lawsuit against a veterinarian who treated their 13-year-old miniature schnauzer. The lawsuit contends that the vet, Dr. Julie Duval, botched an operation to remove a tumor,  which caused the dog to contract a fatal infection.

I love animals.  I grew up with a dog and I live with three cats.  My pets are like family and if my veterinarian (who I think is fabulous) committed malpractice and caused one of my pets to die, I would want to sue as well.  The problem is that the law does not allow for veterinary malpractice lawsuits.

A pet is considered a "chattel,"  a legal word for "thing".  Losing a pet, in the eyes of the law is no different than losing a sweater - awful, I know.  Maybe one day our legislators will pass laws that hold veterinarians accountable for negligent acts.  Until then, we suffer the wrongful loss of a pet without true recourse.

Kudos to the couple for  bringing some national attention to the issue.  They will lose their case, but perhaps make progress in changing the law at some point in the future.

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