Vaccine-injury lawyer’s thoughts on the Supreme Court’s latest ruling in a vaccine case

On February 22nd, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark vaccine-injury case. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. 

The Court held that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all design-defect lawsuits against the manufacturers of the vaccine when a person seeks compensation for personal injury or death caused by a vaccine’s side effects. Six justices joined the opinion, two dissented, and one abstained. The opinion and dissenting opinion sparred over the text of the law, going into deep discussions of grammar, word meanings at the time of the law’s passage, and the legislative history behind the Nation Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. 

 The Court put great emphasis on the fact that the Act provides a no-fault compensation program to help those injured by vaccines and that the Act was designed to facilitate the availability of vaccines to protect public health. The Court determined these twin goals were achieved by the Act, and that lawsuits regarding a vaccine’s design would undermine the language and purpose of the law. Thus, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits that allege that a vaccine was defectively designed cannot go forward in court outside of the process permitted by the Act.

Whether one agrees with this ruling or not, it now stands as the law of the land, and all Federal Courts will be required to follow the ruling until Congress passes a law to the contrary or until another Supreme Court speaks to the issue.

Key to the opinion, our clients, and the public, is that the Supreme Court emphasized that people injured by vaccines do have a way to receive some compensation for their personal injuries or the death of family member. The Act permits a person injured by a vaccine to file a claim at the United States Court of Federal Claims. If the personal injury is recognized as an adverse event or as being caused by vaccine, the person is entitled to money from a fund established from the sales of all vaccines. A special master is permitted to award money for unreimbursed expenses related to the vaccine injury, lost earning and economic damages, and up to $250,000 for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Eric Nowak is a personal injury lawyer who has been admitted to practice before the United States Court of Federal Claims and teh attorneys at Harrell & Nowak have filed claims at that Court for vaccine related personal injuries. 

If you or a loved has suffered a personal injury due to receiving a vaccine, call us today for a free consultation. There are time limitations when you must file your claim, so do not delay.

This is especially important if the injury was anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, brachial neuritis, encephalopathy or encephalitis, chronic arthritis, or Thrombocytopenic purpura. These injuries can and have been linked to vaccines, especially (a) tetanus shots such as DTaP, Tdap, DTP-Hib, DT, Td or TT, (b) measles, mumps, rubella, shots such as MMR, MR, M, R, and (c) polio vaccines. 

Likewise, if you or your doctor believe you suffered an injury due to receiving a flu shot, influenza vaccine, trivalent influenza vaccine, or the meningococcal vaccine or the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine call us today.