Veterinarian License Defense Attorney in Greenville
When a claim is filed against you and your license as a veterinarian, you may be confused at the next steps that will occur. You may not have even expected an investigation to occur, and now you are reeling, hoping to find the answers and understand what is going to happen in the process. Before you go through the steps that we will discuss below in your investigation, it is important to get the help of a veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville to be there with you.
The first steps
An allegation of professional misconduct has the potential to come from many different sources. These sources can include law enforcement, a caretaker or owner of an animal, a competitor, or even a former employee. The board is going to notify you by mail of an investigation once a complaint is made and it will inform you of your opportunity to respond to these allegations by a certain date and your right to have a veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville to represent you. You will quickly find that this initial response is a critical stage of this investigation because it will set the tone and can establish a body of evidence in the following steps.
In the beginning, the investigator from the board is going to request various records that pertain to these allegations. It could include things like witness statements, medical records, medication logs and anything else that pertains to the case. In some case, the investigator will even come to your place of business. Before handing anything over the board, talk with your veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville to checkabout the state laws and regulations. You may find that while the board asks for something, it is considered illegal to hand it over, or it is at least not required for you to do so.
The information that the investigator receives will be presented to the senior staff, who will then make a decision about the case. They have a choice to either dismiss the case here or set it up for an informal conference.
If your investigation progresses to this point, you should realize that it still carries some weight. The evidence and the allegations will be presented to those who are representing the Veterinary Medical Examiners Board. These individuals will be able to ask you questions to help understand the case more.
Do not go to the information conference without your veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville. They can come and help you answer questions, present evidence, and more to help sway how this goes. Often, veterinarians that go into one of these informal conferences without legal representation will end up saying something that could make their case worse and may bring up more charges than were in the original investigation.
After all, the information is presented, and the board has had time to ask questions, the representatives can confer away from the veterinarian and their counsel and attorney. The board can then present the decision in the form of either a proposed Agreed Order or recommended actions. The veterinarian will most likely know the recommendation before they leave the offices. In some cases, the recommendation will be a dismissal if no action is really warranted or a proposed Agreed Order if they find there is a violation. It can also pass the case on to the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
If the presented evidence does indeed show that there were violations to the law, the Board can recommend a settlement offer as an Agreed Order. This can then be negotiated more between those involved. A good veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville will be able to craft a good proposal that can be used to provide you with the best possible resolution.
There are many ways that the Agreed Orders can be done. It will often state the allegations against the veterinarian (or against you), the law that was violated, and the restrictions that the board wants to place on the license. It can also include things like practice restrictions, fines, educational courses, counseling requirements, and the conditions the veterinarian must meet in order to keep their license to name a few.
If you agree to this proposed Agreed Order, you will then sign it and present it to the board for ratification. The board may decide that the proposal is fine and will approve it, or they can approve it with changes, and even reject it completely. If the board accepts this Order, then a final copy will be mailed to you and your attorney, the disciplinary action is entered into the website for the Board, and this becomes a permanent part of your history.
Your veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville can be critical even in this situation. They can help to craft a good proposal for you and will work with the other parties to get the best results possible. They know how to word the proposal and which laws are there to help so that it is more likely that your Agreed Order will be passed through with as little damages to you as possible. Trying to craft one of these on your own without legal representation can often lead to worse damages happening and a loss of your license.
If you are not able to resolve this case earlier in the process, it is possible that it will be moved to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). At this point, you will go through a process that is similar to a malpractice suit and can include requests for production of documents, interrogatories, and depositions. At this stage, you really need to make sure that your veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville is ready to go and will be there to represent you every step of the way.
During this, the Administrative Law Judge will listen to the evidence and the testimonies and then will issue what is known as a PFD, or a Proposal for Decision. The board holds a hearing and a counsel for both sides to have a short oral argument. From here, the board will decide to adopt the PFG, adopt a proposal from one of the parties, or they can create something of their own. In some cases, they may dismiss the case.
Dealing with these hearings can take a long time and are not easy for anyone. As a veterinarian, you are better equipped to handle your patients and give them the high standard of care that they deserve. You are not ready to handle the laws and regulations of dealing with a courtroom. Having a good veterinarian license defense attorney in Greenville can help make this process easier because they understand how this all works and can create a good decision that works the best for you.
If you have been hit with a medical malpractice suit or you are being investigated for a possible claim against your veterinarian practice, it is important to have the right legal team on your side from the beginning. Contact us at Brumback and Langley to get the right legal team on your side right from the beginning.