Medical malpractice suits are commonly in the news and generate significant media coverage, but now animal rights lawyers are actively pursuing ways to file suits against veterinarians for malpractice. There have been veterinary malpractice cases in the past, but they are usually held in small claims court, with damages limited to the replacement cost of the animals because dogs are considered property under the law. Animal rights lawyers are now hoping to expand the amount that courts have awarded for malpractice by pushing for the consideration of non-economic damage awards, that they say reflect the “true” value that pets have. While they have had some success, most courts have held that the replacement value of a pet is the appropriate measure.

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