Each year, tens of thousands of people in the United States experience adverse reactions to their vaccinations. While many of these adverse reactions are relatively minor, some involve serious injuries and illnesses. If you or your spouse or child has been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to financial relief, and securing this relief will involve filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
In this three-part Ultimate Guide to Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim, we will cover the basics of seeking compensation under the VICP. Let’s get started with determining if you are eligible to file a claim:
Are You Eligible to File a Claim Under the VICP?
In order to be eligible to receive compensation under the VICP, you must either (i) have been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, or (ii) have a child who has been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, or (iii) have lost a loved one to a vaccine-related injury or illness. Additionally, your (or your loved one’s) injury or illness must have resulted from a “covered vaccine.”
Covered vaccines are those that are listed on the VICP’s Vaccine Injury Table. Currently, covered vaccines include those that protect against:
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Seasonal influenza (the flu)
The Vaccine Injury Table lists several types of illnesses and injuries that are eligible for compensation. These are known as “on table” injuries. However, even if your (or your loved one’s) illness or injury is not listed, you may still be able to recover financial compensation under the VICP. As of September 2020, “on table” injuries listed for the current covered vaccines include:
- Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)
- Encephalopathy and encephalitis
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
- Shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA)
- Thrombocytopenic purpura
- Vasovagal syncope
Regardless of the specific type of injury or illness with which an individual is diagnosed, the injury or illness must also meet the VICP’s “severity” requirement in order to establish eligibility. This means that the injury or illness must either: (i) last six months or longer, (ii) require inpatient hospitalization and surgery, or (iii) result in death.
Do You Still Have Time to File Your VICP Claim?
The last major factor for VICP claim eligibility is making sure that you file your claim on time. If you have a claim for a non-fatal injury or illness, then you have three years from, “the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of the significant aggravation of the injury.” If you have lost a loved one, you must file your claim, “within two years of the death and within four years of the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of the significant aggravation of the injury from which the death resulted.”
These deadlines will only be extended in very limited circumstances. Regardless of how long it has been since your (or your loved one’s) vaccination, in order to protect your legal rights, you should consult with a vaccine attorney promptly.
In Part 2 of this Ultimate Guide to Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim, we will discuss the steps involved in filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
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.