The supply of vaccines used today is considered the safest in history; the vast majority of people do not experience any adverse reactions. Of those who do incur side effects, most are mild; very rarely, people have more serious side effects, like allergic reactions.
In the rare circumstance where someone experiences a negative side effect to a vaccine, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) allows individuals to file a vaccine injury claim for financial compensation.
Understanding Compensation from the VICP
Being awarded compensation for your vaccine injury claim does not necessarily mean that the pharmaceutical company is admitting fault or agreeing that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. In fact, more than 80 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP is the result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which Health and Human Services has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the vaccine(s) listed in the case caused the alleged injury.
Negotiated settlements are favored for many reasons including:
- Before a decision is made by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, both parties decide to minimize risk of loss through settlement
- A desire by both parties to minimize the time and expense of litigating a case
- The need to resolve a case quickly
Vaccine Injury Claim Statistics
According to the CDC, between 2006 and 2014, over 2.5 billion doses of covered vaccines were administered in the United States. During this period, 3,223 claims were adjudicated by the Court and of those only 1,987 were compensated. This translates to one person receiving compensation for every one million doses of vaccine that was distributed.
Since its inception in 1988, over 16,206 claims have been filed with the VICP. 14,164 of these claims were adjudicated with 4,252 of these were determined to be compensable, while 9,912 were dismissed. The total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.2 billion.
Who is Eligible to File a Claim?
You are entitled to file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims if you believe that you were injured by a vaccine; if you are the parent or legal guardian of a child or disabled adult believed to have been injured by a vaccine; or the legal representative of the estate of a deceased individual whose death you believe was caused by a vaccine. The injury must have lasted for more than six months after the vaccine was given or resulted in a hospital stay and surgery or a death. All claims must include the claim (or petition) and two copies, a Court of Federal Claims cover sheet, medical records and/or other documentation, and a $400 filing fee.
Compensation rates vary depending on the injury, and can be as high as $250,000 for pain and suffering, lost earnings, legal fees, and/or a reasonable amount for past and future care. For a death, you may receive as much as $250,000 for the estate and legal fees. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims makes the final decision regarding petitions, compensation, and the amount of the award.
A plaintiff will not be asked to pay for attorney fees in a vaccine injury petition. Attorneys are eligible for reasonable attorneys’ fees as long as certain requirements are met, paid by the VICP directly. This is true whether or not the petitioner is awarded compensation by the Court. By statute, attorneys are not allowed to charge any other fee, including a contingency fee, for their services in representing a petitioner in the VICP.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!