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The veterinarian to whom I brought my dog committed an act of negligence that caused my dog to pass away. What can I do? Is there a form to sue the veterinarian for the responsibility of the dog’s death?

2016.02.11



Veterinarians, just like doctors, can commit malpractice. As such one can demand that they face their civil responsibility. Malpractice can derive from errors in the diagnosis, deficiencies in the pharmacological, immunotherapy or surgical treatment, the prevention and control of illnesses, etc which can cause harm, occasionally irreversible or fatal, to our pets.

The owner/holder of a pet has the right to sue in court given that there are professional responsibilities of a civil character for veterinarians which are required and which are protected by law.

The ( civil responsibility ) (articles 1101 and 1902 of the Civil Code) implies the duty and obligation to indemnify those perceived to have been hurt or harmed by an action or by a negligent omission, but one which is not seen to have a criminal character. This type of civil responsibility differs from penal responsibility , derived from crime, which is reflected in the Penal Code (articles 337 and 632).
The owner who claims that his/her animal has suffered harm or damage derived from negligence must prove that said harm was produced by the actions of the veterinarian. As such, in light of the civil veterinary responsibility, the jurisprudence emanating from the Courts (see clarifying note at the end) requires that the plaintiff must prove the following requirements:


  • 1. The production of the harm or damage and its quantification .


  • 2. The action or negligent omission of the professional action of the veterinarian, against whom the claim of responsibility was undertaken (for example, the veterinarian who administers an excessive quantity of anesthesia to the dog). .


  • 3. The existence of a causal connection between the damage and/or harm suffered and the negligence committed by the veterinarian (for example, the dog would not have died if the veterinarian had not given a quantity of anesthesia which was double the necessary amount). .




NOTE OF CLARIFICATION


The following sentences, collected from our database, refer to veterinarian malpractice:


  • SAP de Barcelona 149/2008, de 13 de marzo. (District Court Sentence 149/2008 of Barcelona, 13 March 2008) .


  • Sentencia del Juzgado de Primera Instancia núm.10 de Barcelona, de 25 de enero de 2007 (Sentence from Lower Court n. 10 in Barcelona, on 25 January 2007) .


  • SAP de Valencia 577/2009, de 13 de febrero. (District Court Sentence 577/2009 of Barcelona, 13 February 2009)



-We can also find references at the next commented sentences in our website:


  • Sentencia 149/08, de trece de marzo, Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona, Sección decimosexta. (Sentence 149/08, from 13 March, District Court of Barcelona, 16th Section).


  • Sentencia 577/2009 de 14 de octubre de 2009, Audiencia Provincial de Valencia, sección 11ª. (Sentence 577/2009, from 14 October 2009, District Court of Valencia, 11th Section).




-Moreover in the March 2010 editorial titled “La ” herencia de los animales de compañia (The Inheritance of Pet Animals) there is a reference to the value of affection in the sentences related to responsibilities derived from harm done to animal; see specifically note 7.



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