What is the Statute of Limitations in the Vaccine Program?
The statute of limitations requires that your claim must be filed within three (3) years from the date of onset of symptoms.
However, to be safe, our firm recommends that you file no later than three (3) years from the date of your vaccination.
In the event of a vaccine-related death, a claim must be filed no later than two (2) years from the date of death and no later than four (4) years from the date of onset of symptoms. However, in order to preserve an estate’s right to “injury” compensation, the claim should be filed within three (3) years from the date of the onset of symptoms if possible.
Am I responsible for paying my attorneys' fees and costs?
No. Unlike traditional lawsuits, an injured party does not pay his or her attorney a percentage of his or her award in the Vaccine Program.
Our legal fees are never taken from money awarded to you. Instead, our legal fees are paid separately by the United States Court of Federal Claims after your case has resolved.
A petitioner is never required to pay any attorneys’ fees when filing a claim in the Vaccine Program.
Do you represent clients in my state?
Yes. We represent clients in all fifty (50) states and U.S. territories.
All vaccine claims must be filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims, located in Washington, DC.
Vaccine injury cases cannot be filed in state or local court. Vaccine injury litigation is a specialized area of practice, and there are few attorneys who do it. Our law firm is one of only a select few that focus exclusively on vaccine injury claims, and our attorneys are licensed to practice in the United States Court of Federal Claims.
What compensation is available in the Vaccine Program?
Compensation that may be awarded for a vaccine-related injury includes:
- Reasonable compensation for future medical care
- Reimbursement for past expenses relating to vaccine injury
- Past and future lost earnings
- Up to $250,000 for pain and suffering and emotional distress
- In the event of a vaccine related death, a death benefit of $250,000
Why did Congress create the Vaccine Program?
Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for two reasons:
- To protect the nation’s vaccine supply (by reducing lawsuits against manufacturers), and
- To compensate individuals injured by vaccinations.
Between 1980 and 1986, individuals injured from vaccines brought claims against vaccine manufacturers totaling $3.5 billion. As a result of liability concerns, many pharmaceutical companies stopped producing and distributing vaccines. Because vaccines are an integral part of public health initiatives, and because Congress recognized that “[w]hile most. . .enjoy greater benefit from immunization programs, a small but significant number have been gravely injured,” Congress created the Vaccine Program. Now, any person who is injured from a vaccine must first file a claim in the Vaccine Program, and cannot bring lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers or administrators of vaccines before filing in the Vaccine Program.
How is the Vaccine Program funded?
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Trust Fund is funded by a $.75 excise tax on each dose of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for routine pediatric administration.
The Vaccine Fund is managed by the Department of Treasury.
The Trust Fund pays out awards for compensation, attorneys’ fees and costs and certain administrative expenses.
Is the risk of a serious adverse reaction to vaccines high?
Vaccinations are an integral aspect of the success of modern public health initiatives. Every single day, adults and children are safely vaccinated.
However, despite the obvious benefits of vaccination, the risk of adverse reaction exists. In rare instances, people experience severe and disabling reactions to vaccinations. Though rare, the risk of injury following vaccination is very real. Congress established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) to compensate individuals injured by vaccines.
What is the Vaccine Injury Table?
The Vaccine Injury Table lists vaccines covered by the Vaccine Program and a limited number of injuries and conditions that have been associated with the corresponding vaccination. If a claimant suffers the onset of an enumerated injury or condition within the timeframe described in the Table, the vaccine may be the presumed cause of the injury or condition. The government would then bear the burden of proof, and may challenge this presumption if an alternative cause (other than vaccination) is found to be the cause of the injury or condition.
As of March 21, 2017, two (2) new injuries were added to the Vaccine Injury Table – Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) following seasonal flu vaccination, as well as Shoulder Injury Resulting from Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) following multiple vaccinations.
Currently, very few claims fall within the limits of the Vaccine Injury Table. Significantly, the majority of claims filed are “off-Table” claims. A petitioner may still file a claim seeking compensation for an injury sustained after vaccination even if the claim does not fall within the strict limits of the Vaccine Injury Table.
What vaccines are covered by the Vaccine Program?
- Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTaP, Tdap, Td, DTP, DT, TT)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR, MR, M, R)
- Meningococcal (conjugate & polysaccharide) (MCV4, MPSV4)
- Polio (IPV, OPV)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
- Rotovirus (RV)
- Varicella (VZV)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Any combination of above vaccines
Who is involved in processing a vaccine claim?
The United States Department of Health and Human Services administers the Vaccine Program. The United States Department of Justice represents the Department of Health and Human Services in defending all claims.
All claims are presided over by the Office of Special Masters, within the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Court has eight (8) special masters who specialize in vaccine injury claims. A special master is assigned to each case and determines the outcome of a claim in the event that it proceeds to a hearing.
How many claims have been filed in the Vaccine Program?
The Health Resources & Services Administration provides the most current data on the number of claims filed in the Vaccine Program and number of claims compensated in the Vaccine Program.