Supreme Court to Decide Vaccine Product Liability Case
The US Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a case that will decide whether vaccine makers are virtually immune from all product liability suits for injuries caused by vaccines. The case was brought by the parents of Hannah Breusewitz who began suffering seizures at 6 months old after receiving a type of D.T.P. vaccine that has been taken off the market. As a result of the seizures, Ms. Breusewitz has become severely mentally disabled. The Breusewitzs brought a civil lawsuit after the Vaccine Court denied their daughter any compensation for her injuries.
The Vaccine Court was established in 1986 as part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which created a no-fault system of compensation for children injured by vaccines, but severely limited vaccine makers liability. Under this system, children who have suffered an injury that is officially recognized as caused by the vaccine, the child will receive a compensation award, in an amount determined by the Vaccine Court. The Vaccine Court denied Hannah Breusewitz's claim because seizures had been removed from the list of known conditions caused by the D.T.P vaccine one month before her claim was filed with the administrative court.
The case centers around whether vaccine makers can still be held liable in product liability actions based on a defective design when a safer design was available. The outcome of the case will affect hundreds of cases in which parents are claiming that vaccines have caused autism.