Most claims filed under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) settle out of court. In fact, according to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), approximately four out of five successful claimants receive a settlement rather than an award of compensation at trial:
“Almost 80% of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury.”
Negotiating a settlement allows you to make an informed decision about how much compensation you receive; it avoids the risk of receiving nothing at trial; and, generally speaking, it allows for a more-efficient resolution than fully litigating a VICP claim in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the “Vaccine Court”). In short, when you have a VICP claim, receiving a fair settlement offer is usually the ideal scenario. So, if you have been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, how can you improve your chances of settlement?
Tips for Preparing to File a Successful Claim Under the VICP
When filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the more you can do to prepare, the greater your chances will be (generally speaking) of negotiating a fair settlement. Of course, the outcome of a VICP claim is never certain; and, even if you are clearly entitled to compensation under the terms of the program, it is still possible that you will need to take your claim to trial. That said, in order to improve your chances of obtaining a pre-trial settlement, some of the steps you can take to prepare include:
- See a doctor promptly. In order to obtain compensation under the VICP, you need to have medical records that clearly document all aspects of your injury or illness. This includes the date of the initial onset of symptoms, your specific diagnosis, your treatment recommendations and the potential long-term effects of your condition.
- Determine if your injury or illness is “severe.” The VICP only provides compensation for injuries and illnesses that qualify as “severe.” This means that either: (i) your condition lasts for more than six months; or, (ii) your condition requires inpatient treatment or surgery.
- Document your losses. In order to make an informed decision about settling, you need to know the value of your claim. This requires thorough documentation of your losses, including your medical expenses, your loss of income, and the day-to-day impacts of your injury or illness.
- Learn more about the claims process. Filing a VICP claim is a unique process, and learning more about the process can help you decide when (and if) it makes sense to settle. For an overview, you can read our VICP FAQs.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation about Your VICP Claim
If you believe that you may be entitled to financial compensation under the VICP, it is important that you speak with a vaccine attorney as soon as possible. To discuss your claim in confidence, you can call 202-800-1711 or contact us online for a free initial 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.