Wondering if I would sue the veterinarian or the vet that owns the practice?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Wondering if I would sue the veterinarian or the vet that owns the practice?

I am thinking about filing a small claims case because two veterinarians at a local practice who treated my cat misdiagnosed the cause of her eye issue. Weeks later one of them came up with the right diagnosis started treating her for a virus, but by then her eye was severely damaged now may need to be removed. The virus is very common in cats based on all her symptoms, it seems they should have picked up on this sooner started treating her for the virus. I’ve done a lot of research will confirm this with another vet. The vet practice is owned by another veterinarian who has not seen my cat. In addition, I feel that they should of referred us to an opthamologist before things got so bad.
I would really appreciate your input.
Thank you

Asked on September 21, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

This case is not likely to be economically worthwhile. There is no pain and suffering for a pet's injury--you can only get the direct economic costs, such as the cost of medical treatment which was only necessary due to the malpractice. But to sue, you would need an expert witness--a vet--to testify for you, and unless you know one personally who will do this as a favor, you could easily spend several hundred or thousand dollars on the expert witness. (You need the expert witness, even in small claims court, because you, as a layperson, are not qualified to offer a meaningful opinion about veterinary care; you can't prove your case without an expert.) You could spend more on the case then you will get back.
To answer your original question, you would sue the individual vet and also the practice.

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