There is no doubt that when an owner challenges your professional integrity and competence with a malpractice lawsuit, it creates doubt in your own mind of your capabilities, not to mention severe stress. It is easy to see from the law reports that too many veterinarians have been poorly represented by attorneys who, at the very least, have an inadequate understanding of standards of care, veterinary medicine, veterinary law and the legal test for negligence. Many of these attorneys have been appointed by insurance companies on behalf of the insured veterinarian. Even the most experienced and competent attorney is going to be short on veterinary knowledge. It requires a specific, dedicated organization like the VDA to fill this gap. The VDA works side by side with competent attorneys appointed by the VDA’s insurers to provide VDA members with a formidable defence team.
The effective management of malpractice litigation starts with THE EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF INCIDENTS. If the incident was not effectively managed in the first place, then the chances of a successful later defence of a malpractice lawsuit are diminished. If you made an error at the time of the incident, the time to fix the error (and/or compensate the owner) is at that time. A veterinarian who does not pay proper attention to owner grievances at the time may find themselves on the wrong side of a court judgement.
The VDA works together with its insurer’s attorneys to provide members with a full service malpractice litigation defence program.