Suing To Sue Vaccine Liability

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - 9:38am

Supreme Court to hear case of family fighting to sue vaccine manufacturer over daughter's injuries.

Hundreds of parents who fear there is a link between autism and childhood vaccines were likely watching the Supreme Court Tuesday.

The high court heard arguments from the family of a girl who has a seizure disorder they claim was caused by a vaccine 18 years ago.

The case takes on the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and the court system that it established to handle such claims.

That 1986 law established the "vaccine court" but this case looks at what should happen whether that system should cover all claims.

Hannah Bruesewitz was just 6-months-old when she received what was a common DTP vaccine at the time.

Her family says it led to severe seizures and developmental disabilities.

She needs 24 hour care and will never be independent.

Her parents tried to bring a claim in the government established vaccine court.

When Hannah's injuries didn't qualify they tried take vaccine maker Wyeth to state court and were turned away.

The Bruesewitz's attorney argued there should be some legal remedy against a manufacturer that knew of an alternative.

"By the time Hannah was vaccinated IN 1992, there was a safer way to vaccinate children," says attorney David Frederick.

Attorneys for Wyeth contend the current no-fault system protects companies who might not make lifesaving vaccines if they are faced with more lawsuits.

Hannah doesn't have autism, but a vast majority of lawsuits in the vaccine court are now autism-related.

So far that vaccine court has cited scientific studies that show no link between vaccines and autism and have ruled that those cases don't qualify for compensation.

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