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Compensating Companion Animal Owners for Veterinary Malpractice Through an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism

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Author(s): Terence J. Centner | Nikita Smeshko

Journal: Journal of Social Sciences
ISSN 1549-3652

Volume: 7;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 597;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Veterinarians | companion animals | malpractice | alternative dispute resolution | companionship | domestic animals

ABSTRACT
Problem statement: Many people own pets for companionship and become attached to their animals. Given this attachment, some owners contract for veterinary services to extend the lives of their pets and may spend more money for veterinary care than their animals are worth. If their pet dies due to veterinary malpractice, they only receive a nominal sum for damages. Approach: The research seeks a regulatory solution to compensate companion-pet owners in instances where veterinary malpractice causes injury to or the death of a pet. Under current law, remedies for veterinary malpractice do not recognize the petsÂ’ actual value. Results: As values change, legislatures can address inequities. A proposed "Companion Animal Compensation Program" sets forth a solution for paying modest amounts for veterinary malpractice that would avoid excessive litigation and large jury awards. Conclusion: To give greater value to companion animals, states can take action to establish an administrative procedure to compensate companion animal owners who lose animals due to veterinary malpractice.
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