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The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: How It Works

By: Anapol Weiss

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was established in the 1980s as a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions. The creation of the VICP was in response to a number of lawsuits against vaccine companies and health care providers, which threatened to reduce U.S. vaccination rates. That reduction, in turn, could have caused a resurgence of diseases that would normally be prevented by vaccinations.

A petition may be filed on behalf of any adult or child who believes he or she was injured as a result of receiving a covered vaccination. Parents, legal guardians and legal representatives can file on behalf of children as well as disabled adults and deceased individuals.

Below is a brief description of the vaccine claims process through the VICP.

  • The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated and, if so, for how much. This decision often follows a hearing in which both parties can present evidence.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation, and makes a preliminary recommendation.

  • An individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, possibly with the assistance of a vaccine injury lawyer.

  • In a report submitted to the Court, the U.S. Department of Justice provides medical recommendations and legal analysis.

  • If the Court makes a decision in the petitioner’s favor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will award compensation. If certain requirements are met, the Department will pay vaccine lawyer fees and costs (even if the petition is dismissed).

Filing a claim is likely the last thing on a person’s mind after developing a serious adverse reaction. However, contacting a qualified vaccine injury lawyer is crucial to protecting a patient’s legal rights and seeking compensation for the unexpected medical bills and other resulting expenses.

Contact Anapol Weiss if you or a family member developed an adverse reaction to a vaccine. We can answer your legal questions and begin the claim process at no cost to you.