How Do You Prove a Vaccination Error?

Although vaccination errors are relatively rare, they can have life-altering consequences when they occur. Vaccination errors can result in shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA), and these injuries can impact vaccine recipients’ lives for weeks, months or years.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SIRVA, you may have questions about your legal rights. You may also have questions about what it takes to prove a vaccination error. In this article, vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant explains what you need to know.

Proving Your Legal Rights After a Vaccination Error

If you have questions about filing a claim for a vaccination error, one of the first things you need to know is that filing a vaccine injury claim is very different from filing a claim for almost any other type of injury. This is because most vaccine injury claims fall under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The VICP is a federal program that Congress established in order to make it easier for vaccine recipients and their families to recover financial compensation for the costs of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. Since it began accepting petitions in 1988, the VICP has paid more than $4.5 billion to successful claimants.

One of the key aspects of the VICP is that proof of a vaccination error is not required. To secure financial compensation for a vaccine-related injury or illness, in most cases all claimants need to prove is that:

  • The claimant (or the claimant’s family member) received a covered vaccine;
  • The claimant (or the claimant’s family member) was diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness;
  • The claimant’s (or the claimant’s family member’s) symptoms onset within a certain number of days following vaccination.

This is because Congress specifically established the VICP as a “no fault” program. Unlike filing a personal injury lawsuit in court, filing a VICP claim does not require proof of fault. So, even if your (or your loved one’s) vaccine-related injury or illness is the result of a vaccination error, you don’t need to prove the error to recover just compensation.

Common Types of Vaccination Errors

Even though you don’t need proof of a vaccination error to file a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, it is still important to be familiar with the types of errors that can lead to SIRVA and other vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. If you notice that your (or your loved one’s) healthcare provider makes one of these errors, you will want to monitor for the symptoms of these injuries and illnesses in the days following the immunization.

Some examples of vaccination errors that can lead to vaccine-related injuries and illnesses (including SIRVA) are:

  • Inserting the needle too high on the shoulder (in the scapula region)
  • Inserting the needle too low on the arm (below the deltoid muscle)
  • Inserting the needle at the wrong angle (intramuscular injections should be administered at 90 degrees to the surface of the skin, while subcutaneous injections should be administered at 45 degrees)
  • Using the wrong-size needle for the type of vaccine being administered or the patient’s weight, body type or body composition (a guide is available from the CDC)
  • Using a vial or syringe that has not been properly stored, filled or sanitized (different vaccines need to be stored at different temperatures prior to administration, and all vaccines should be administered in a sanitized environment)

These vaccination errors don’t always lead to vaccine injuries, but they do in some cases. In fact, while vaccine-related injuries and illnesses are relatively rare overall, SIRVA claims are by far the most common type of claim we handle for vaccine recipients and their families.

5 Steps to Prove Your Legal Rights Under the VICP

While proof of a vaccination error isn’t required to recover financial compensation under the VICP, there are still some important steps that vaccine recipients, parents and other loved ones need to take to protect their legal rights. For example, if you believe that you may have a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, it will be important to try to take steps such as:

1. Make Sure You have Your (or Your Family Member’s) Vaccination Record

Filing a VICP claim requires proof of vaccination. With this in mind, you should make sure that you have a copy of your (or your family member’s) vaccination record.

2. Keep Documentation of Your (or Your Family Member’s) Medical Care

Filing a VICP claim also requires proof of the costs you are entitled to recover. Your medical expenses will likely account for a significant portion of these costs, so you should be sure to save any copies of your (or your family member’s) medical records that you have as well.

3. Document the Day-to-Day Effects of Your (or Your Family Member’s) Vaccine-Related Injury or Illness

Filing a VICP claim also provides the opportunity to recover financial compensation for your (or your family member’s) pain and suffering. To prove these losses, you should keep records of daily pain levels and the other day-to-day effects of your (or your family member’s) vaccine injury.

4. Learn More About the VICP Claim Process

While filing a VICP claim is much more straightforward than filing a personal injury lawsuit, there are still several steps involved. As a result, it can be helpful to learn more about the VICP claim process. Our FAQs are a good place to start.

5. Talk to a Vaccine Attorney

Finally, you will want to speak with a vaccine attorney about your VICP claim as soon as possible. An experienced vaccine attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process, and you can hire an attorney to handle your claim at no out-of-pocket cost.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant

Do you need to know more about filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)? If so, we invite you to get in touch. Please call 202-800-1711 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with vaccine attorney Leah V. Durant.

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: Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration or SIRVA, Uncategorized

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