Liability for Failure to Vaccinate
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Can I Be Liable for Failing to Vaccinate My Child?
Although health care providers agree that vaccinations are important for controlling common diseases, many people forgo vaccinations for themselves and their children.
In recent years, strong legal arguments have been developed to hold parents of unvaccinated children legally responsible for the subsequent spread of disease. Apparently, parents who don’t vaccinate their children may be sued by other parents in civil courts and may also be subject to criminal prosecution. The criminal case rests on the notion that unvaccinated children pose a danger to public welfare.
Legally Opting Out From Vaccinations: Personal Exemptions Beliefs
Today, 17 states, including California, allow parents to take advantage of the so-called personal belief exemptions (PBEs) to opt out of vaccinating their children. However, the PBEs (granted on religious or philosophical grounds) do result in an increased public risks from non-immunization. Given the consequences of PBEs, it is clear whether failure to vaccinate may still result in a viable cause of action for a lawsuit after all.
Warnings from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Multiple CDC studies confirm the pubic dangers of non-vaccination. For example, in its study spanning from 1985 to 1992, CDC found that the so called "exemptors" (those who failed to vaccinate) were 35 times more likely to contract measles. During the 2008 outbreak of measils, CDC found that most measles cases consisted of exemptors – 66% of whom were children whose parents forewent vaccinations through PBEs.
Seeking an Attorney’s Advice
If you face legal consequences for failing to vaccinate your child, you should speak with a qualified attorney immediately. An attorney will be able to develop defenses for your case and can represent you in court.
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Last Modified: 08-24-2016 10:26 PM PDT
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