Timing Matters: Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Your Case

Filing a claim in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“NVICP”) differs from filing a traditional lawsuit.  Claims filed in the NVICP must be filed within the appropriate Statute of Limitations period.  Complainants, also known as petitioners in the NVICP, must file within three years of the first symptoms of the injury in the case of an injured party, or within two years of death and within four years of the first symptom in the case of a deceased party.

Occasional changes are made to the covered vaccines and the permitted time to make a complaint.  In 2015, as a result of a report by the Institute of Medicine, some injuries previously not covered by the NVICP came under its aegis.  The program added two of the more commonly-compensated injuries to the Vaccine Injury Table:  Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (“SIRVA”).

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barré syndrome (“GBS”) is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nerves.  Weakness and tingling or numbness in the extremities are usually the first symptoms.  These sensations can spread quickly, eventually paralyzing the whole body.  In its most severe form, GBS is a medical emergency.  Many people with the condition must be hospitalized to receive treatment.

The Mayo Clinic also adds that, in rare cases, recent immunizations can trigger the condition.  GBS has been linked to vaccines for influenza and others.  For additional information, please follow the link to our GBS injury page.

For those who have suffered GBS following a flu vaccine or SIRVA since March 21, 2009, and who meet the minimum criteria outlined on the Vaccine Injury Table, the strict time limits to file a claim have been temporarily extended.  An injured party can file for compensation under the NVICP if the injury occurred up to eight years before the vaccine table’s revision.  All claims that meet these criteria must now be filed by March 21, 2019.  This applies even if the petitioner had previously filed a claim alleging a GBS injury, but was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. Up to this point, had not been permitted.  For additional information, contact us here.