A parent’s decision not to vaccinate a child may place others at risk if the child becomes infected and exposes others to the disease. Should an individual harmed by an infection transmitted from a child whose parents chose to forgo vaccination have a negligence claim against those parents? While I do not hold a legal degree and therefore cannot speak directly to issues of law, as a physician and ethicist it seems to me that the basic elements that comprise negligence claims—harm, duty, breach of duty, and causation—are met in some cases where parents forgo vaccination.
Douglas S. Diekema,
Choices Should Have Consequences: Failure to Vaccinate, Harm to Others, and Civil Liability,
Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_fi/vol107/iss1/12