The Tennessee-based case is unique for a number of reasons, the first being that it's the first time in 30 years that a vaccine case such as this has been heard in a U.S. court.
This is because in the U.S. there is a federally operated vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) that Congress created under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) handles contested vaccine injury and death cases in what has become known as "vaccine court."
The VICP is a "no-fault" alternative to the traditional civil court lawsuit and was established in 1986 after a string of high-profile lawsuits slammed vaccine manufacturers.
The federal VICP compensates vaccine victims not from a fund paid into by vaccine manufacturers, but through a federal trust fund that collects a 75-cent surcharge on every vaccine given.