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What is the statute of limitations in New York State for filing a veterinary malpractice suit?

Syracuse, NY |

I believe I have a case related to failure to disclose what was a small probability, but high risk of a specific complication, for a specific medication provided at discharge. No information was given, and in fact I got no written discharge instructions (they couldn't find the form).
During a resulting hospital ICU admission, several very competent veterinary professionals told me the drug is "controversial", and they gave me the "black boxed" medication spec sheet showing warnings I was not told about when my pet was discharged.
Thank you.

I left out some important info that I'm hoping may change the prognosis to get some financial relief that would not cost more than the recovery: The vet already paid me for the week long hospitalization, and admitted I was not informed properly on discharge. I was asked to sign a waiver to sue, but never did. Also, this is a $700 purebred animal, although I don't show her. Since payment already implies guilt, what chance is there that I could at least push the vet to settle for paying annual healthcare costs associated with the now chronic disease (labs and other diagnostic tests, special food required, etc) Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. As a vet does not fall with medical, dental or podiatric malpractice, the statute of limitations is 3 years. If you can file within 2 1/2 years (which is the statute of limitations for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice) that would be safer. However, consider whether your case is worth it. New York law does not allow for emotional distress damages for loss of a pet. New York law treats a pet as chattel unless it is a special situation like the pet was an actor, etc. You will likely need to retain an expert vet and pay thousands of dollars to get his/her testimony, which is likely more than you can over hope to recover.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  2. The cost would likely far exceed a recovery, but contact the above lawyer in your state to investigate.

  3. 3 years. Even if you sue under contract for the 6 years, the court would apply the 3 year S/L. I hope that you are speaking about a high value animal, otherwise you will be spinning your wheels in terms of finding an attorney to prosecute unless you will pay hourly, not contingency.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.

  4. I agree with my colleagues. Probably 3.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.

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