For individuals who are diagnosed with vaccine-related illnesses and injuries, the process of recovering financial compensation typically involves filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). While you do not need to hire a lawyer to handle your VICP, it is strongly recommended; and, as we discuss below, you can hire a vaccine injury lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost.
Filing a Claim Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Although the VICP is a federal government program, filing a claim under the program is unlike seeking other types of federal government benefits. As the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) explains:
“To be compensated by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), you must file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and a copy of the petition must [be] sent to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The petition is a legal document that you can prepare yourself, or hire a lawyer to prepare and file on your behalf. Because this is a legal process, most people hire a lawyer.”
Prior to filing a VICP claim, you must first determine whether you are eligible, and you must also gather sufficient evidence to get your claim past the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) initial medical review. If DHHS personnel determine that you have submitted sufficient evidence to establish a “compensable” claim, then the next major step is to prove how much you are entitled to recover. At this stage, you will be dealing with lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); and, if DHHS does not concede your claim and you do not receive a satisfactory settlement, you will need to present your claim to a Special Master at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
In short, filing a VICP claim involves several steps, it is complicated, and the stakes can be very high. Vaccine injuries can lead to substantial medical bills and lost earnings, and they can leave recipients struggling to cope with chronic pain. These are all losses for which compensation is available under the VICP. But, if you fail to assert your claim effectively, you could very easily end up without the financial resources you need for your recovery.
The VICP Pays Claimants’ Legal Fees Separately from Their Compensation Awards
In addition to the challenges involved with filing a VICP claim – and the risks involved with making mistakes – there is another reason to consider seeking legal representation as well: You can hire a lawyer to handle your VICP for free. Under the terms of the program, “[t]he Court generally will award reasonable attorneys’ fees and other legal costs as long as your petition is deemed reasonable and filed in good faith.”
Importantly, your legal fees and costs are not deducted from your settlement or verdict. Instead, they are paid separately by the VICP. So, not only does it cost nothing out-of-pocket to hire a vaccine injury lawyer, but it costs nothing at all to hire a lawyer to handle your claim.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Vaccine Injury Lawyer Leah V. Durant
If you would like more information about filing a claim under the VICP, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant, call us at 202-800-1711 or tell us how we can reach you online today.
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.
Categories: National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, U.S. Court of Federal Claims
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