The federal government has paid more than $4.4 billion to vaccine recipients and their families since 1988. The government has paid this money under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)—a program that, while still relatively unknown, is vital to those coping with the effects of vaccine injuries.
What You Might Not Know About Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a vaccine injury, it is important that you have a clear understanding of your legal rights under the VICP. With this in mind, here are 15 little-known facts about seeking financial compensation for vaccine injuries:
1. You Don’t Have To Sue the Vaccine Manufacturer
While many people assume that seeking financial compensation for a vaccine injury means suing the manufacturer, this is not the case. Eligible vaccine recipients and family members can file claims with the federal government under the VICP, which is funded by a tax on vaccines.
2. You Don’t Have To Sue Your Health Care Provider
Another common misconception is that recovering financial compensation for a vaccine injury involves filing a lawsuit against your healthcare provider. Again, this generally is not necessary. For the vast majority of vaccine recipients and family members, recovering financial compensation involves filing a claim under the VICP.
3. You Can File a Claim Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)
Congress established the VICP specifically to provide a source of financial compensation to eligible vaccine recipients and families—without the need to take the vaccine manufacturers or their healthcare providers to court. Both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens are potentially eligible to file.
4. The VICP Provides “No Fault” Compensation for Eligible Vaccine Injuries
Whereas filing a lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer or health care provider would require proof of fault, the VICP provides “no-fault” compensation for eligible vaccine injuries. If you are eligible, you can file a claim regardless of why your (or your loved one’s) injury happened.
5. The VICP Covers Claimants’ Legal Fees
In addition to paying compensation for vaccine injuries, the VICP also covers claimants’ legal fees. This means that you can hire an experienced lawyer to handle your VICP claim at no cost.
6. Not All Vaccines Are Covered Under the VICP (But Most Common Ones Are)
While the VICP covers most CDC-recommended vaccines, there are some exceptions. Most notably, the COVID-19 vaccines are not currently covered under the program. But, the annual flu shot, tetanus vaccines, MMR vaccines, and varicella (chickenpox) vaccines are all covered—among others.
7. VICP Claimants Can Recover Their Present and Future Costs
The VICP covers eligible claimants’ present and future costs. This means that you do not have to—and should not—wait to file a claim. If you believe that you may be entitled to compensation for a vaccine injury, you should speak with a lawyer about filing a VICP claim promptly.
8. VICP Claimants Can Also Recover Compensation for Pain and Suffering
In addition to covering eligible claimants’ out-of-pocket costs, the VICP also provides compensation for eligible claimants’ pain and suffering. “Pain and suffering” includes physical pain as well as anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and other psychological consequences.
9. There Is No Limit on Compensation for Financial Costs Under the VICP
Under the VICP, there is no limit to how much eligible claimants can recover for their financial losses. Whether your financial losses total $10,000 or $1 million, you can seek full compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
10. Compensation for Pain and Suffering is Capped at $250,000
While there is no limit on how much eligible claimants can recover for their financial losses, the VICP does place a cap on damages for pain and suffering. This cap is $250,000.
11. Vaccine Recipients (and Family Members) Can Lose Their Rights if They Don’t File In Time
There are strict time limits on vaccine injury claims under the VICP. For non-fatal injuries, the deadline to file is two years from the first symptom or other manifestation of onset. For fatal injuries, the deadline is two years from the date of death but no later than four years from the first symptom or other manifestation of onset.
12. VICP Claimants Must Prove Their Eligibility
Filing a successful VICP claim isn’t as simple as filling out a form. Claimants must file a petition in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the vaccine court), and they must present evidence that proves their eligibility.
13. VICP Claimants Must Prove How Much They Are Entitled to Recover
In addition to proving their eligibility, VICP claimants must also prove how much they are entitled to recover. This means presenting evidence of their medical bills and lost earnings to date, their anticipated future medical expenses and lost earnings, and their pain and suffering.
14. Most Successful VICP Claims Settle
Even though claimants must file their petitions with the Vaccine Court, most successful VICP claims settle out of court before going to a hearing. If you hire an experienced lawyer to handle your claim, your lawyer will work to secure a favorable settlement on your behalf.
15. VICP Claims That Don’t Settle Go To Court
Finally, while most VICP claims settle, some claims go to court. If the government is not willing to make an offer that you think is fair, you will need to rely on your lawyer to present a compelling case for just compensation in the Vaccine Court.
Discuss Your Vaccine Injury Claim with a Lawyer for Free
Do you have a vaccine injury claim? If you think you may be entitled to compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (or don’t know and would like to find out), we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your legal rights with attorney Leah V. Durant in confidence, please call 202-800-1711 or tell us how you would like to be contacted online today.
Categories: Vaccine Injury Claim