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Veterinary Negligence Claim Success for Negligent Vetting Procedure

HorseSolicitor’s Hanna Campbell was instructed to pursue a veterinary negligence claim on behalf of a client who purchased a horse two years ago for £18,000 with a view to competing in show jumping at a high level. A veterinary practice was instructed to carry out a 5 star vetting prior to purchase and the horse was deemed suitable for the purpose it was being purchased.

After just two weeks of working the horse it was evident that there was a problem and a different vet was called out to examine the horse. The vet diagnosed a spinal injury which meant that the horse’s career as a show jumper was over. Veterinary notes that had not been examined at the time of vetting were obtained and it was confirmed that the horse had been diagnosed with said condition two years prior to the sale yet the seller had said nothing. Due to the fact that the horse had not been advertised as a show jumper and the former owner had not misrepresented the horse during the sale it was not possible to bring a claim against the seller. This is because the basic rule in English Law is caveat emptor - buyer beware.

As such we advised the client to instruct us to bring a professional negligence claim against the vet that performed the vetting. Liability was initially denied, insurance was taken out to protect the client against the risk of losing at trial and court proceedings were issued. An expert’s report was obtained confirming that the vet had fallen way below the standard expected (negligence) and shortly after liability was admitted.

The client received compensation including the full purchase value of the horse, loss of use, travel expenses, bedding, shoeing and feed.

Veterinary Negligence
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