| Vaccine court |
|Jurlyless courts exclusively for legal action about vaccines.|
Vaccine courts were created by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), passed by the US Congress in response to a threat to the vaccine supply due to a 1980s scare over the DPT vaccine. They are juryless and confidential.
Petitioner's burden of proof
In the vaccine court, as in civil tort cases, the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence, but while in tort cases, this is met by expert testimony establishing a rigorous scientific case, in the vaccine court, the burden is met with a three prong test: the petitioner must present a biological theory of harm, demonstrate a logical sequence of events connecting the vaccine to the injury, and establish an appropriate time frame in which injury occurred. The petitioner must also show that there is not another biologically plausible explanation for the injury.
A 2005 United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling held that an award should be granted if a petitioner either establishes a "Table Injury" or proves "causation in fact" by proving the following three prongs:
- a medical theory causally connecting the vaccination and the injury;
- a logical sequence of cause and effect showing that the vaccination was the reason for the injury; and
- a showing of a proximate temporal relationship between vaccination and injury.
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
In December 2018 "payouts by the national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or VICP, have now topped $4 billion."
Andrew Zimmerman, when he denied the possibility of a link between vaccines and autism, was an expert witness in front of the court. However, when he began to believe that in some children vaccines can result in autism, he was no longer employed in this capacity. A 2018 affidavit alleges that the court continued to misrepresent his position.
- Althen v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Fed. Cir. July 29, 2005). Text This decision, which is binding upon the United States Court of Federal Claims, clarified the standing for proving "causation in fact" absent a "Table Injury" under 42 U.S.C. 300aa-11(c)(1)(C)