In 1986, the U.S. Congress established a tax-payer funded system for compensating victims of vaccine injury, ("collateral damage" in the War on Disease, if you will). The move came at the lobbying of drug companies who wanted to be free of liability and who basically threatened to pull out of vaccine manufacturing if this measure didn't pass. Now, victims of vaccine injury have three years to file a claim in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Court (VICP). There is no peer jury and no independent judge, just government agents representing government interests.
Fast forward to today. The topic frequently comes up on MDC when somebody mentions that vaccines are a liability-free product. Someone else corrects the person and says that VICP can be bypassed and the plaintiff can opt for a traditional tort claim.
Here are my questions. Wherever possible, please reply with good, solid, supporting links, (e.g. not just opinionated personal blog posts). If I get super curious about something, don't be surprised if I ask you to cough up a link or two.
1. Under what specific circumstances could a plaintiff proceed with a tort claim against a vaccine manufacturer, (i.e. sue the manufacturer directly)? For example, would the plaintiff have to start with VICP first?
2. How many times have vaccine manufacturers been directly sued since 1986? How many of these cases have ruled in favor of the plaintiff?
3. Since 1986, how much money have vaccine manufacturers lost to settling or directly compensating for cases of vaccine injury?
4. Nationwide, how many attorneys handle non-VICP, vaccine-related tort claims?