Braden A. Blumenstiel
How Do I Receive Compensation for a Vaccine-Related Injury?
No one should have to suffer reactions from a vaccine that is meant to keep you safe. Although vaccines serve an important role in maintaining the public’s health, it is widely accepted that they can, and do, cause serious side effects in a small percentage of their recipients. The federal government recognized this and created the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, which created a system for compensating those who suffer vaccine-related injuries or even death. Despite its name, there are no age restrictions on who can receive compensation. Anyone who has sustained an injury as a result of receiving a vaccine is entitled to compensation through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.
To receive compensation, you must first go through the process of presenting a claim by filing a petition in the Federal Court of Claims. One of the primary benefits of the National Vaccine Act is that attorney fees and associated costs are paid for by the fund, not the client. In this petition, you will submit evidence demonstrating that your symptoms were caused by a vaccine. You will need to present pre- and post-vaccination medical records. After you file a petition, a representative from the Department of Health and Human Services will review the materials you submitted and determine whether the evidence you submitted proves that your injuries were caused by a vaccination. At this time, the representative will make a recommendation as to whether or not compensation is warranted. A report will then be submitted to the court, and you will have the opportunity to submit more evidence. After all evidence has been submitted, the Court will decide if a hearing needs to take place, and ultimately decide as to whether award you with compensation or not. If compensation is awarded, the amount and type of compensation will be determined at a later date. This whole process from filing a petition to completion can take about 2-3 years. However, this can vary slightly depending on a number of factors.
Retaining an experienced attorney will help minimize the amount of time it takes to have your claim processed. During the entire process, your counsel can try to negotiate a settlement to the claim. Whether compensation is deemed required by the court or negotiated between the parties via a settlement, your attorney will work with you to present all evidence available of the damages you sustained as a result of your adverse reaction to a vaccine.
If your claim is approved by the Federal Court of Claims, you can expect to receive compensation for such things as your past and future medical treatment, past and future wage loss, out-of-pocket expenses, and past and future pain and suffering. The amount you receive varies depending on the extent and severity of your symptoms, as well as how long they last.
Any type of injury can be compensated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as long as it meets the Federal Court of Claim’s criteria. One important criterion is that the symptoms must last six months or longer following the vaccination. Some types of adverse reactions to vaccines occur frequently enough that there is a presumption that the vaccine caused the reaction in the injured person. These claims are called “on table” claims. The Court created a Vaccine Injury Table which lists the circumstances under which a given set of symptoms is to be presumed to be caused by a vaccination. These claims are processed relatively quickly, and compensation is very frequently provided. Regrettably, there are many vaccine-related injuries that are not considered “on table” claims. If the symptoms do not match those on the Vaccine Injury Table, the claim is considered an “off table” injury. These claims require substantially more evidence than “on table” claims, and expert testimony is often required. These claims take longer to process because there is not a presumption that the vaccine caused the symptoms.
If you believe you’ve had an adverse reaction to a vaccine, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our law office at 614-389-9711. We can expedite your claims process for you. If you have any more questions, you can visit our website vaccineactlawyers.com and download our Consumer Guide to Vaccine Related Injuries.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program also offers many resources to help you better understand what claims are covered through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and how to submit one.