The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal government program that uses a tax on CDC-recommended vaccinations to provide financial compensation to individuals diagnosed with vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. Since its establishment in 1988, the VICP has awarded nearly $3.8 billion in compensation to vaccine recipients, and it has paid nearly $4.1 billion in total outlays (this disparity reflects the fact that the VICP pays claimants’ legal fees separately from their awards of financial compensation).
In 1988, 24 individuals filed claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. In 1991, the VICP received 2,718 vaccine injury claims – the highest yearly total on record. The number of VICP claims filed has swelled again over the past few years; and, so far, 2019 is on pace to be a record year.
VICP Claim and Award Data for 2019 (as of March 1)
According to the latest data from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), the VICP has received 508 claims so far in 2019. This exceeds the yearly total in all but 11 of the years since the VICP’s establishment. If this rate of claims continues, 2019 will see more than 2,000 claims filed under the VICP, and this will be just the third year in history that the number of VICP claims has exceeded this threshold.
Critically, however, it is not just the number of claims that is going up. The number of successful claims is going up as well. While 1991 saw the highest number of claims filed, only 141 claimants received compensation awards that year, and the number of awards in subsequent years was similarly low. The number of successful claims actually peaked in 2016 and 2017 (coinciding with the recent increase in overall claim filings); and, if the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the “Vaccine Court”) maintains its current pace in 2019, we could see a new record number of successful claims this year.
What Accounts for the Upward Trend in Vaccine Injury Claims?
So, what factor (or factors) can explain the recent upward trend in vaccine injury claims and awards? Although the data do not provide a definitive answer, there appear to be a few possible explanations:
- Awareness of the VICP is growing. While the VICP remains relatively unknown, awareness of the program is growing. As more people become aware of the compensation available through the VICP, the number of claims will likely continue to rise.
- Awareness of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses is growing. Awareness of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses is growing as well. For example, recent data show that approximately half of all VICP claims involve shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA), and these injuries were virtually unknown just five years ago.
- More claimants are seeking legal representation. When you file a VICP claim, you have the option to hire an attorney, but you are not required to do so. The HRSA notes that, today, most claimants are hiring attorneys to represent them.
Speak with Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant about Filing a VICP Claim
Vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant has more than a decade of experience representing VICP claimants before the Vaccine Court. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, you can call 202-800-1711 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
Leah Durant Bio
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.