Filing a Vaccine Injury Claim
Civil, Civil Rights, Individual, Personal Injury | August 5, 2015
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was initiated by Congress in 1986, and is administered jointly by three governmental bodies: The U.S. Court of Federal Claims, The Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.
An injured person, or family of a deceased person, must first file a petition for compensation in a special court called the Federal Claims Court. Individuals can file this claim on your own, but individuals often enlist the help of a vaccine injury attorney because the process can be confusing.
After a claim has been filed, a physician at the Department of Health and Human Services would review the claim and medical documentation to determine if it meets certain criteria, and then make a recommendation.
Vaccine Injury Table
The government compiled a list of specific injuries and conditions either caused or aggravated by vaccines. This list is called the “Vaccine Injury Table.” This table is maintained by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Essentially, this governmental agency has created a list of vaccines, and their possible side effects or injuries, the time frame in which they will onset and the length of time they will last. If your injury meets the criteria listed by the Department of Human services, you may receive compensation.
However, because of the nature of medicine, an individual’s condition often does not fit a pre-determined set of characteristics. In those cases, an individual may still be able to make a claim for compensation, but they would need to prove that their injury was a result of the vaccine with the support of a medical theory and expert on how the individual became injured.
For instance, testifying that the injury occurred during the same time as the vaccination, may not be enough. You would need to articulate “how” and “why” the injury resulted from a vaccine. Scientific evidence is required to establish these requirements.
A recommendation by the Department of Health and Human Services, once given, is not binding. Instead, the recommendation is given to the Department of Justice, who uses the recommendation as their position on the claim.
The injured party and the Department of Justice argue their claim before what is called a “special master” who is an attorney appointed by the court. The special master makes a decision on whether compensation should be awarded based on the evidence.
An individual may be compensated for their medical and legal expenses, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. However, there are mandatory caps on the amount of compensation that can be awarded, depending on the circumstances.
Our Attorneys can Help with Your Vaccine Claim
Filing a claim in Vaccine Court? Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys in the Lancaster and York area at 717-843-8046.