Be Proactive to Avoid Litigation in Your Veterinary Practice

December 5, 2016
VMD Staff

Debra Hamilton, JD, principal attorney at Hamilton Law and Mediation, discusses the need to be proactive in order to stave off potential litigation in your veterinary practice.

Debra Hamilton, JD, principal attorney at Hamilton Law and Mediation, discusses the need to be proactive in order to stave off potential litigation in your veterinary practice.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“My best advice for approaching scary litigation or disagreements of any kind. Because you’re going to have disagreements with colleagues, you’re going to have disagreements with staff, you’re going to have disagreements with clients. The best way to handle it is to address it early. I always talk about having suggestion boxes. I always talk about giving people the opportunity to give you feedback proactively. Ask them, ‘How did we do on your last visit?’ Don’t wait for them to tell you you stink. Rather, ask them, and say, ‘We’d really like to do better. Tell us what we did really well and tell us what we can work on. Because if you’re proactive, they’re going to let you know because you’re not coming at them in a way that’s threatening and they’re not coming at you in a way that’s threatening.

The best thing to do if you’re faced with litigation, or if you think litigation is coming down the pike, or you want to avoid litigation is to be proactive in your practice. Ask questions. Give people not only the ability to tell you, face to face, but have a suggestion box where they can slip it in so they don’t have to face-to-face you, but they can actually tell you, ‘Your receptionist was rude today.’ Maybe she had a bad day. Maybe you just have to talk to her. But you have to put something in place so that you can take that worry and burden out of the equation, and you can really run your practice the way you want.”