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Vaccine Court: Attorneys Win, Families Suffer

Vaccine Court Cases

Story at-a-glance -

  • An Associated Press investigation revealed the US government fights legitimate vaccine-injury claims in an effort to uphold the public’s faith in vaccine safety

By Dr. Mercola

If you or your child were to be seriously injured after receiving a routine government-recommended vaccination, what would you do? You might assume, as many Americans do, that you could choose to hire an attorney and sue the vaccine’s manufacturer. 

Or you might sue the doctor if the vaccine was given negligently so you could obtain financial compensation for medical care, pain, and suffering.

But this is not possible. At least, not anymore, because Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have banned vaccine product liability and vaccine injury malpractice lawsuits in the US. Today, vaccine victims are forced to apply to a federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Vaccine injury claims are awarded or denied by US Department of Health and Human Services officials using US Department of Justice attorneys, with some cases contested and decided by special masters in the US Court of Federal Claims.

The VCIP was created by Congress in 1986 under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act after vaccine manufacturers threatened to stop producing vaccines if they weren’t protected from vaccine injury lawsuits.

The VICP was supposed to be an alternative to a civil court lawsuit and gave partial liability protection to vaccine manufacturers, pediatricians, and other vaccine providers from civil liability for injuries and deaths caused by federally-recommended childhood vaccines.1

Drug companies weren’t satisfied with partial liability protection and, in 2011, convinced the US Supreme Court majority to rule that federally licensed and recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and that the VICP should be the “sole remedy” for all vaccine injury claims.2

Now, even if it can be proven that a government-recommended vaccine that injured or killed someone in America was defectively designed and could have been made less reactive – nobody can sue drug companies making big profits from government-recommended and mandated vaccines!3

Though the federal compensation system was originally intended to help vaccine-injured Americans by giving them a non-adversarial, expedited, less expensive administrative alternative to a civil court lawsuit, it has morphed into a program that is anything but that.

Sadly, the VICP process often adds more suffering to vaccine victims, who may be left waiting without support and financial assistance for more than a decade. Some VICP claimants even say they felt “attacked” by the government that was supposed to help them.

Associated Press Investigation Reveals Serious Flaws in Vaccine Court

The Associated Press (AP) analyzed nearly 15,000 vaccine-injury cases and hundreds of decisions. They conducted more than 100 interviews using data on vaccine-court cases through January 2013 (they say the government has refused to release an updated list of cases).4

While the cases are supposed to be resolved in 240 days or less (with an additional 150 days for potential extensions), less than 7 percent of non-autism cases met this requirement. When autism claims were factored in, only 4.5 percent were resolved in less than 240 days. According to the AP:

Most non-autism cases take at least two and a half years, with the average case length more than three years, not including cases unresolved at the end of 2012. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.”

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Taxpayers and Vaccine Users Foot Bill for VICP Awards

The VICP is funded by a 75-cent tax on each dose of vaccine sold by vaccine manufacturers to the federal government, state governments, HMOs, or individual doctors in private practice and that money is placed into a Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund managed by the U.S. Treasury Department.

To date, there is a surplus of $3.5 billion in the Trust Fund that has not yet been awarded to vaccine victims. In other words, taxpayers and everyone who gets vaccinated in the US pay money into the VICP Trust Fund, which could be described as a de facto vaccine injury self-insurance program.

The problem is that, when the risks of vaccination turn out to be 100 percent for some people, they have no guarantee of getting federal vaccine injury compensation. In fact, three out of four vaccine injury victims are turned away empty handed!5

Government Hires Doctors with Ties to the Vaccine Industry

If you apply to the VICP, know that your private attorney likely will be facing well-paid federal health officials and Justice Department attorneys, who have hired high-priced medical experts to discredit your case.

The government, for instance, uses taxpayer money to hire “special experts,” who are often doctors with ties to the pharmaceutical industry, to oppose vaccine injury compensation awards in order to defend vaccine safety in court, according to the AP analysis.

The government is concerned, first and foremost, with maintaining the image of vaccine safety to the American public. They do not want you to know, for instance, that in 2008 they conceded that childhood vaccines contributed to permanent brain damage that included symptoms of autism in 9-year-old Hannah Poling, lest you begin to question vaccine safety.

In vaccine court, the government will fight your claim – even if you have good evidence that your claim is very legitimate -- or they may try to quietly settle it with a lowball offer (which preys on families in urgent need of money).

If the government settles vaccine injury cases outside of the US Court of Claims, they don’t have to admit that the vaccine caused harm, which makes public health officials, medical trade organizations, and drug companies very happy because it preserves the illusion that vaccines are safe for everyone.

 According to the AP investigation:6

“Lawmakers designed vaccine court to favor payouts, but the government fights legitimate claims and fails its obligation to publicize the court, worried that if they concede a vaccine caused harm, the public will react by skipping shots.

…If government doctors had their way… 1,600 families would not have gotten more than $1.1 billion in cash and future medical care between the court's opening in 1988 and the end of 2012.

…‘The system is not working,’ said Richard Topping, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who handled vaccine injury claims but resigned after concluding his bosses had no desire to fix the major flaws he saw. ‘People who need help aren't getting it.’”

Even Nancy Grace Was Shocked to Learn You Can’t Sue US Vaccine Manufacturers

In the video above, you can watch as nationally known journalist and attorney Nancy Grace is told, live on the air, that vaccine manufacturers can’t be sued for vaccine injuries. She was covering a story about a 10-year-old child who was paralyzed after receiving a flu shot. Even she was surprised, which goes to show how far federal health agencies have gone to keep the VICP a well-kept secret.

Not many Americans know that there is a short THREE-year deadline to file a vaccine compensation claim in the VICP after a vaccine injury occurs and a shocking TWO-year deadline to file a claim after a vaccine death. If you don’t file in time, you will be barred from applying for federal vaccine injury compensation and, since you are also barred from filing a civil lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer or doctor who may have given the vaccine negligently, you will be left to handle all the medical bills and lifelong care you or your child may require after suffering a serious vaccine reaction.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there have been 14,439 claims of vaccine injury and 1,149 claims of vaccine-related death. Less than one-quarter of the claims were approved while more than three-quarters were denied. Renee Gentry, president of the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association, said:7

“It was supposed to be a friendly, fast alternative program that didn’t require the protections plaintiffs would have in civil litigation… It’s the complete opposite.”

Proving causation is extremely difficult with vaccine injuries in part because there are huge gaps in vaccine safety science and, also, unless a vaccine reaction is immediate and obvious, parents may not connect their child's deterioration in health to the shots the child was given. When parents report their child's regression into chronic poor health following vaccination to their child's pediatrician, they are typically told the illness couldn't possibly be related to the vaccine or vaccinations the child was given.

Sometimes reactions occur within hours or days of vaccination and are dramatic and life threatening and the child is taken to the emergency room and the vaccine reaction symptoms are recorded in the child's medical record. Usually, only the most clear cut and identifiable vaccine reactions end up in Vaccine Court—the ones where the "dots" are easily connected.

Unfortunately, at that point the damage is done and the child may be left with lifelong chronic illness and disability. The vast majority of vaccine adverse reactions are never reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

Still, CDC's VAERS database8 lists 8,000 different adverse vaccine reactions, from localized swelling and anaphylactic shock to autism, coma, and death.9 Vaccines are a $30-billion per year industry. Today, four dominate the world market (Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, and GlaxoSmithKline). Given the furor that erupts when anybody publicly questions vaccine safety, you would assume that the US government considers vaccines completely safe. But in reality, that's not the case. As Global Research reported:10

“The very existence of the vaccine court, which the AP admits was created to shield vaccine companies from liability and jury verdicts, proves that vaccines injure and kill children. The AP even uses the phrase ‘vaccine-injured Americans’ to describe those for whom the court exists. And yet the basic premise is still that vaccines are safe and necessary, and thus the system operates in defense of this, at the expense of public health.”