Regardless of how many precautions you take, you may still face accusations of negligence or malpractice during your veterinary career. Any time an incident that may result in a claim occurs, be sure to:
1. Contact your insurance agent.
If you are made aware of an incident that may lead to a lawsuit or VMB complaint, contact your insurance agent immediately to find out whether you need to file a report with your insurance carrier. Your insurance agent will also be able to help you build your defense against any claims or proceedings you face as a result of the incident. Furthermore, since many policies require timely notification, informing your insurance agent of the incident immediately will ensure that you don’t lose any benefits.
2. Call a qualified lawyer who has experience working with veterinarians.
Some veterinarians are tempted to handle legal matters on their own, especially in the case of VMB complaints. However, attempting to deal with complaints in an uninformed vacuum can lead to unanticipated problems and put you in a compromised position. You may even risk losing your practice if you try to fight these issues on your own. Consult a lawyer when faced with a challenging complaint or potential lawsuit. Even if the plaintiff offers what seems to be a satisfactory settlement, a qualified lawyer should review the deal and make sure your interests are adequately protected.