Vaccines play a vital role in the health sector. In cooperation with research centers, pharmaceutical companies and international organizations, governments are deploying vaccines to improve health care. Vaccines prevent you from suffering from a certain disease by activating antibodies and providing immunity. In most cases, these vaccines come from the disease itself.
On the other hand, patients’ bodies are different and they may react differently to a particular vaccine. For example, a specific vaccine may be effective and safe for some people, but cause undesirable side effects to others. This begs the question: can you claim compensation if you suffer harm from a vaccine? The answer is yes.
However, seeking compensation involves filing a request or claim and following the appropriate procedure. This article provides essential information on the vaccine injury claim process. Read for more information.
Familiarize yourself with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Created in 1988, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) aims to compensate people harmed by certain vaccines. The vaccines covered by this program include the following:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough
- Hepatitis A and B
- Mumps Rubella Measles
- human papillomavirus
For example, there is different reactions of a tetanus vaccine, but most side effects are mild, such as mild fever or pain at the injection site. However, if you experience a serious side effect lasting longer than six months, you may be eligible for compensation under the VICP.
Although the VICP covers most vaccines commonly given in the United States, it does not extend to those given during epidemics, such as the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shots. If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of this vaccine or booster shot, you may be eligible for compensation, not from the VICP, but from the Countermeasures Compensation Program for injuries (CICP).
Report your vaccine-related injury to VAERS
It is essential to seek immediate medical attention for your vaccine injury to avoid possible complications. Then, report your vaccine-related injury to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This is a government program that tracks vaccine injuries.
Reporting your vaccine injury can be done online. Go to the VAERS website and complete the online form.
However, you must be ready with your vaccine injury details. For example, it would be helpful to list any symptoms you experienced after receiving the vaccine, including the onset, frequency and intensity of those symptoms.
Gather your medical records
Filing a claim requires the submission of medical records and other documentation, which may include the following:
- Prenatal and birth records
- Pre-vaccination medical records
- Vaccination record
- Post-traumatic hospital treatment records
- Post-traumatic ambulatory records
- VAERS form
- Death certificates, if applicable
To speed up the claims process, start gathering supporting documents.
File a Vaccine Injury Claim
It is important to note that one of the following circumstances must be present in order to file a claim:
- The effects of the vaccine injury should have lasted more than six months after the vaccine was given.
- The effects of the vaccine should have resulted in hospitalization and surgery.
- The vaccine caused the death of one person.
Vaccine damage claims must be filed in the United States Federal Court of Claims in Washington, DC. Thus, a vaccine injury lawsuit differs from a typical personal injury case that may be filed in local court.
Here is a summary of the process for filing a claim:
- The petitioner or his attorney will submit one original and two copies of the petition along with medical records and other relevant documents and court filing fees.
- The applicant or their attorney will submit a copy of the application along with medical records and other documents to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
- The Court will send a copy of the request and supporting documents to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its legal review.
- HHS will review the medical information in the request and submit its review to the DOJ attorney, who will represent the Secretary of HHS.
- A consolidated report of the DOJ and HHS reviews will be sent to the court and to the claimant or their attorney.
- The DOJ, the complainant, or their attorney will initiate legal action to resolve the complaint.
- A court-appointed attorney will decide whether the claimant is entitled to compensation and the amount of the settlement.
Hire legal services
You don’t need a lawyer to file a vaccine injury claim. However, it is strongly advised to hire one, as the claims process is often long and involves a lot of paperwork. In addition, the Rules of Court must be strictly observed. Thus, most claimants avail themselves of the services of a legal professional.
Don’t just hire a personal injury lawyer, because only a lawyer admitted to vaccine court can handle a claim for compensation due to a vaccine injury. An experienced vaccine injury attorney will be able to calculate your present and future monetary and non-monetary losses and help you negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.
The statute of limitations, which refers to the deadline for filing a lawsuit, applies to vaccine injury claims. You must file your claim within three years of when you first experienced the symptoms. On the other hand, if the vaccine injury resulted in the death of your loved one, you must file your claim within two years from the date of death.
Therefore, it is prudent not to delay as you will be prohibited from filing a claim beyond this time and there will be no way to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered as a result of the vaccine.
As you can see from the discussion above, the vaccine injury claim process is relatively straightforward. As with a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that your injury was caused by the vaccine you received. But unlike bodily injuryVaccine injury claims are filed only in Federal Claims Court.
You may consider engaging the services of a vaccine injury attorney to handle your claim. They are familiar with legal procedures and requirements and can help you seek reasonable compensation for your vaccine-related harm.
Legal Scoops editor Jacob Maslow founded several online journals, including Daily Forex Report and Conservative Free Press.