Court Denies Families of Autistic Children Compensation


Families who blame their children’s autism on childhood vaccinations were notified yesterday that a decision for their claims of compensation had been reached. They were told today that those claims were being denied. The special court, overseen by “special masters,” decided that the families did not provide sufficient evidence that vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella, and possibly others, which contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, caused the autism. This ruling affects almost 5,000 families and 180 lawyers who have claims in the Vaccine Court Omnibus Autism Proceeding that vaccines caused the autism evident in their children.

During a trial in 2007, the government argued the claims were not supported by “good science.” Other government supported institutions, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and others agreed, stating there was no credible link between autism and vaccines.

The lead attorney litigating for the families has stated that they fall into three groups:

  • Those who claim MMR vaccines and vaccines that contain thimerosal combine to create autism
  • Those who claim thimerosal itself can cause autism
  • Those who claim that MMR vaccines, even those without thimerosal, cause autism

The recent ruling concerns only the first claim. As of mid-2008, there were over 5,300 families who filed cases. As many as 5,000 of those are still waiting the court to make a decision.