Understanding the Vaccine Court – Part 1: What is the Vaccine Court?
In 1986 the VICP (National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program) was established to help compensate vaccine recipients and their families who have been severely injured as a result of adverse effects from certain vaccines. The VICP pays for the legal expenses associated with the claim so that there is no financial risk to seek the services of an experienced vaccine attorney. Should an individual believe that they, or their child, has been injured as a result of a vaccination, they are able to petition the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals to seek compensation. From their petition and evidence, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services reviews the case and makes a preliminary recommendation, and then passes it on to the Department of Justice(DOJ) for further medical and legal analysis. The DOJ then submits a report of their findings to the court-appointed “Special Master”, who serves as a judge and issues a judgment for compensation or dismissal. With the assumption that compensation has been granted, the Court orders the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services to award compensation to the petitioner.
How do I know if I am eligible for compensation?
The main way in which entitlement to compensation is awarded is through the occurrence of a “Table Injury”. The Vaccine Injury Table was created to help streamline the process of seeking compensation for those who have suffered injuries that are linked to certain vaccinations. The VICP has a table which lists three requirements:
- The Vaccine is covered in the program.
- The Illness, Disability, Injury or Condition – that is commonly linked to the vaccine.
- The Time for first symptom or manifestation of onset or of significant aggravation vaccine administration.
When an individual meets all three of these requirements specified in the table it is presumed that the causation is the vaccine, and compensation is available.
However, as often happens, not all injuries are included on the Vaccine Injury Table. When this happens, an individual may still file a petition, however, the burden of proof is now their responsibility. This process requires arduous study of medical records, finding of expert witnesses, and proving causation between the vaccine and the Illness, Disability, Injury, or Condition.
How do I start a claim if I think I am eligible?
The Program was designed to be straightforward and uncomplicated. It was also started to protect vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits and to encourage the development of vaccines without fear of litigation. However, because you have to prove that the vaccine was the cause of your injuries, it is extremely complicated, and requires representation by an attorney licensed to practice law in the US Court of Claims. At Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC, our more than 30 years of experience in the US Court of Federal Claims gives us the advantage of knowledgeable expert witnesses needed to prove your claim.
If you think that a vaccine is responsible for a physical or mental injury and/or if your doctor has been unable to explain the cause of injuries or symptoms after you or a loved one have received a vaccination, then please feel free to contact me for a no cost, no obligation consultation. If there is a claim, we will represent you and there will be no financial risk to you. Keep in mind, that there are time limits in filing these types of claims so it is always best to protect your rights and get answers to your legal questions regarding a vaccine claim as soon as possible. You can contact us from anywhere in the United States by calling us at (800)431-9776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.
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