The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Generally, a person cannot sue the person that gave them the vaccine nor a vaccine manufacturer for a vaccine injury. However, there is still a process for receiving compensation for a vaccine injury. The United States Congress enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and thereby established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) on October 1, 1988. There is a trust fund that is funded by an excise tax of $0.75 on each dose of a vaccine. Only vaccines that are subject to the excise tax are part of the VICP and also listed on the Vaccine Injury Table. The fund is presently valued at approximately $1.46 billion.
Congress intended for the vaccine program to evaluate and compensate vaccine injury claimants on a no-fault basis. Congress intended for the program to provide a swift, flexible and less adversarial alternative to the prolonged and expensive litigation in federal or state courts. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, also created the Office of the Special Masters to manage and make decisions in regards to vaccine injury claims. The Special Masters are judges appointed for 4 years by the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Office of the Special Masters is part of the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Special Masters only handle vaccine injury claims. The program has paid out compensation of approximately $4.7 billion dollars to vaccine injury claimants since 1988.
Claimants who have been injured by a vaccine must file a claim for compensation within three years of the injury. A claimant will also have to get the proper evaluations to gather the required evidence to prove that a vaccine caused their injury. Claimants would need to be properly directed to the necessary medical or surgical specialists to obtain the appropriate evaluations and management of their vaccine injury. When a claimant decides to file a petition to obtain compensation for their vaccine injury, he or she must show four things:
- that he or she receives a vaccine listed in the Vaccine Injury Table;
- he or she sustained an illness, disability, injury or condition listed in the Vaccine Injury Table for the particular vaccine;
- suffered residual effects or complications that lasted for more than six months or required inpatient hospitalization and surgery, or died;
- has not collected any other award or settlement for the injury or death.
A vaccine injury listed on the Vaccine Injury Table requires that the first symptom or manifestation occurred within the required time or that the vaccine caused the injury. Therefore, if your symptoms or manifestations are exactly as described in the Vaccine Injury Table, then your injury was caused by the vaccine. If on the other hand, your symptoms and manifestations are not exactly as described in the Vaccine Injury Table, then you and your attorney must prove that your injuries were caused by the vaccine. This would tend to make your case more difficult and complex. Check the link to the Vaccine Injury Table to see the types of vaccine injuries that are known to be caused by a particular vaccine.
After a claimant has been able to establish that he or she was in fact injured by a vaccine, the next phase of the process would be to provide the necessary evidence to establish the full extent of the claimant’s damages. The claimant may require additional specialists for the purpose of making accurate determinations about the present and future assistance that the claimant may need. Under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, a claimants can receive compensation for:
- actual and reasonable projectable unreimbursable expenses directly related to the vaccine related injury;
- actual and anticipated loss of earnings;
- Actual and projected pain-and-suffering and emotional distress, capped at $250,000;
- Vaccine related death, in the amount of $250,000;
- Reasonable attorney’s fees and other costs associated with proceeding on the petition.
There is yet another program termed the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program. However, this program is very limited in its coverage and the relief that it provides. This program is the last resort for claimants who suffer injuries resulting from a covered countermeasure. A countermeasure may include a vaccine, a medication, a device or some other item recommended by the government to diagnose, prevent or treat a declared pandemic, epidemic or security treat. There is a one year statute of limitations to file a claim starting from the date that you were injured by the particular countermeasure.
The Ottley Law Firm, located in East Flatbush the heart of Brooklyn, New York, will help a vaccine injury client to navigate the complex process of prosecuting a vaccine injury case in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Attorney, Roland G. Ottley will also bring to bear his years of clinical experience and scientific knowledge to present the most persuasive arguments to support your vaccine injury claim. Mr. Ottley will be able to explain your case in sufficient detail to clients and others. He can provide them with the legal, scientific and clinical aspects of your vaccine injury claim. He is also experienced and knowledgeable about the clinical consequences of any particular vaccine injury.
The Ottley Law Firm will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of your vaccine injury and the process for compensation. We will explain the vaccine injury claim to you in a way that you can understand your claim and your understanding will be to your satisfaction. We will also provide you with the professional compassion and empathy when dealing with your vaccine injury claim. Our firm will give you the comfort and support that you require while diligently and zealously pursuing your rights in the Vaccine Court of the United State Court of Federal Claims.