Most of the time, when you suffer unexpected injuries or an illness is that caused by a dangerous medication, your only option for seeking compensation is to file a traditional tort lawsuit. This involves taking your doctor, the hospital, the pharmaceutical company and/or the insurance companies to court, and fighting defense lawyers who have near-unlimited resources and a vested interest in making sure you receive as little as possible. Fortunately, cases involving vaccine-related injuries are different.
About the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
In 1986, Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) in order to remove these hurdles for individuals who are injured by vaccines. Under the VICP, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHS) is responsible for administering a trust fund that currently has more than $2 billion available to compensate individuals who have suffered vaccine-related injuries.
While plaintiffs in traditional injury lawsuits must prove that the party (or parties) they are suing are responsible for their injuries, this is not the case with regard to claims filed under the VICP. In fact, with many vaccine injuries, it is simply enough to demonstrate that the individual suffered an injury within a specific time window after receiving a covered vaccination. In vaccine claims, individuals are not required to prove that the vaccine was defective, and do not have to prove that the doctor or nurse who administered the vaccination made a mistake during the process.
Filing a Claim Under the VICP
Filing a claim under the VICP still involves filing a lawsuit in court, but instead of suing a private party, the petitioner seeks compensation from the government under the VICP. In addition, all vaccine injury cases are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the “Vaccine Court”), which is located in Washington D.C. However, many VICP claims settle (often without lengthy trials), and most petitioners are never required to set foot in a courtroom.
When to Hire a Lawyer for Your Vaccine Injury
Although it is technically possible to file a claim under the VICP on your own, there are several reasons why it is advisable to hire a vaccine attorney. To obtain the best chance at receiving maximum compensation, it is advised for individuals seeking an award to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after suffering a suspected vaccine-related injury. Reasons to hire a lawyer for a VICP claim include:
- Lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice represent DHHS in VICP claims. Having an experienced vaccine attorney on your side levels the playing field.
- There are special laws and procedures involved in filing a claim with the Vaccine Court. An experienced vaccine attorney will be able to help you avoid common mistakes and costly delays.
- The VICP pays petitioners’ attorneys’ fees separately from their awards of financial compensation. This means that hiring a lawyer for your VICP claim comes at no cost to you.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Vaccine Injury Lawyer Today
At the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, we provide experienced legal representation for claims filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, nationwide. If you would like to speak with a vaccine lawyer about your injury, call (202) 800-1711 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.