The tort system is frequently criticized — for the unpredictability of its judgments, the stinginess (or, some say, profligacy) of its awards, and the slow pace, exorbitant cost and adversarial nature of its operation. In tort’s place, many suggest, we ought to create alternative compensation mechanisms — which is to say, programs that would provide payment to injured individuals outside the traditional court system. The idea is that, within these alternative mechanisms, compensation would be more quickly, more easily, more consistently and more simply delivered, without long delays or adversarial process.
A Stanford professor has found that the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has not lived up to its original goals of providing "simple justice" to children injured by vaccines. Lengthy delays and an adversarial tone characterize the program.
(This article originally appeared in the LA Times, on November 29, 2004.)
Like good moms everywhere, Janet Zuhlke made sure her kids got their shots.
This proved disastrous for her daughter, Rachel. She was a healthy 5-year-old until a brain injury triggered by a routine vaccination left her mentally retarded, physically handicapped and legally blind.