Filing a vaccine injury claim does not involve the same process as that of a lawsuit. Below are five important facts about the vaccine claim process that victims and their families should know.
1. Vaccine claims have their own program in Washington, D.C.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was established by the U.S. government as an accessible, no-fault process to compensate people who develop rare reactions to vaccines. Three federal government offices have a role in the VICP: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
2. There is a fund set aside specifically for victims of certain vaccine injuries.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the VICP to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims. Funding comes from a $0.75 excise tax on each component part of the vaccine that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For example, the excise tax on the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is $2.25 because the MMR vaccine has three component parts.
3. Victims can get a lawyer’s help at no cost to them.
The VICP will pay lawyer fees and other legal costs related to the claim, regardless of the outcome. A vaccine injury attorney can start a claim on a victim’s behalf by filing a legal document called a petition to request compensation. The claim addresses information such as the vaccine that caused the injury, the date of the vaccination, the injuries the person sustained and other facts. Certain medical records and other documents may be included in the claim. An experienced vaccine lawyer can navigate this process and ensure all necessary information reaches the VICP.
4. There are deadlines to filing a claim.
For those who were injured, claims must be filed within three years after the first symptom, manifestation of onset, or significant aggravation of the injury. For claims involving a person’s death, claims must be filed within two years of the date of death and within four years of the first symptom, manifestation of onset, or significant aggravation of the injury that resulted in death.
5. The VICP provides a table of the vaccines that are covered in the program.
Only the vaccines listed on the vaccine injury table are covered by the VICP. While the table does list some reactions that the government concedes are causally related to the vaccine, most injuries that are filed in the VICP are not contained on the vaccine table. Such cases can be successful if the injured party can prove that the vaccine administered caused the alleged injury. This process involves extensive scientific research and support from a medical expert. Therefore, it is critical to retain a competent vaccine attorney to handle this process.
People who have suffered a serious reaction to a vaccination can get answers right away by calling our vaccine lawyers for a free consultation.