It is sad to lose a beloved pet (or watch it suffer in pain), especially if it happens due to the negligence of another person. Luckily, there are legal grounds you can use to demand compensation from the responsible party. Here are three examples of these legal theories:
This is probably the most common way in which people sue for pet injuries or death. A party is negligent if they don't take reasonable care when doing something and this leads to an accident that harms your pet. You are probably familiar with negligence in the classic case of automobile accidents, but this isn't the only example of negligence. A homeowner who is careless when trimming a tree and causes the branches to fall on your side of the fence and kill your beloved cat is also negligent and you can sue them for your pet's death.
Veterinary malpractice occurs when a vet makes a mistake that another vet with similar training and experience shouldn't have made. For example, when you take your sick cat to a vet and they misdiagnose the animal's illness, you can sue them for veterinary malpractice if it turns out that the diagnosis was a simple one that any other trained vet could have made. Not that a veterinarian doesn't become liable for veterinary malpractice just because their carelessness led to your animal's injury; the failure must be related to the conduct of the vet in their professional capacity. For example, forgetting to close the door and letting an animal escape isn't veterinary malpractice, it is just ordinary negligence.
Bailment is a legal term for the act of leaving your personal property under the temporary custody of another person. For example, you engage in bailment when you leave Fido the dog under the care of your neighbor while going on a weekend vacation. In such a case, the temporary caretaker (legally known as a bailee) assumes responsibility for the dog and may become liable for injuries suffered by the animal in your absence. For example, if this neighbor also leaves for a trip and leaves your dog without care, you may sue them if the dog is hit by a car or bitten by a wild animal during this period.
Note that you need to identify the right allegation to make if you are to succeed with your claim. For example, you can't allege medical malpractice if you leave your neighbor to take care of your sick pet and the neighbor gives the pet the wrong medicine; the neighbor isn't a professional veterinarian. A consultation with an attorney can help you identify the right channel to follow and maximize your damages. Click to find out more.