Simply put, malpractice involves some failure to exercise sound professional judgment, while negligence involves a failure to exercise common sense. Veterinary liability insurance can protect you from the financial devastation of a lawsuit in either case, but malpractice policies are typically written separately from those that cover negligence.
Allegations can be made in any situation in which you are, or should be, utilizing professional judgment and skill:
- Accurately diagnosing problems
- Determining appropriate treatment
- Providing treatment (medication, first aid, surgery, etc.)
You’re expected to perform these kinds of duties at the level of the “average” veterinarian.
Malpractice claims can wreak financial devastation if you’re not prepared for them. Veterinary liability insurance can protect you in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
You and your employees can be accused of negligence in any situation in which you should be able to demonstrate reason and care:
- Keeping animals fed, safe, and contained
- Maintaining a sanitary environment
- Ensuring your employees’ safety in the workplace
You and your employees are expected to carry out these kinds of duties at the level of the “average” person.
Negligence is about your ability to apply general, reasonable judgment and does not involve situations in which you are utilizing your professional training. Anyone can be accused of negligence – and employers are liable for the negligence of their employees.
Protect Yourself, Protect Your Business
When owners experience a pet’s injury or loss, their emotions may prompt them to take legal action. It’s important to understand the differences between malpractice and simple liability when purchasing veterinary liability insurance so that you can make informed decisions about your coverage needs.