The recent outbreak of measles in the United States has left many families unsure of what actions they can take to protect their families. There are currently no federal or Illinois laws in place to handle this specific situation. However, many individuals in the legal community believe that lawsuits brought by the families of measles victims with the assistance of a personal injury attorney in Illinois may be a viable option. Some of these individuals believe that the threat of a lawsuit may be the only thing that will convince some parents to vaccinate their children.
The potential for lawsuits
Forbes reports that when parents refuse to vaccinate their children, they may be able to be held liable for the consequences of their refusal. A lead bioethicist and vaccine policy expert at NYU states that when unimmunized children pass measles onto others who cannot get the vaccines or whose vaccines were ineffective, this is grounds for a lawsuit. A personal injury attorney in Illinois may be able to treat any measles personal injury cases like they would drunk driving accidents. Individuals are legally allowed to choose whether or not to drink alcohol. However, their liability is clear once their choice to drink and drive ends in an accident.
Why are measles dangerous?
Measles is a disease that is caused by a virus that is extremely communicable. The virus spreads easily through the air and may stay viable in aerosolized form for up to five hours after leaving its host. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who contract the measles virus experience cough, runny nose, irritated eyes, and a high fever. After three to five days, a rash begins to cover the entire body. At this time, patients’ fevers often reach 104 degrees.
Children under the age of five and adults over the age of 20 are the most likely to experience complications in connection with the disease. They include the following:
- Ear infections, which can result in permanent hearing loss.
- Pneumonia, the most common cause of death for those with measles.
- Encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. Children that survive are often left deaf or mentally retarded.
One or two children will die for every 1,000 that contract the measles virus.
Those who have been injured due to other individuals refusing to vaccinate themselves or their children may have a valid case. In this situation, injured parties and their families should seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney in Illinois. With the assistance of an attorney, these individuals may learn their rights and how to proceed in seeking compensation for their injuries.