What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system that allows for vaccine-injured petitioners to seek compensation when certain circumstances have been met. The initial goals of the Vaccine Program were to:
- Ensure adequate supply of vaccines; and
- Compensate individuals injured by vaccines.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the program, sourced from a $.75 excise tax imposed on each dose of those vaccines listed within the Vaccine Injury Table.
Why was the NVICP created?
As part of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the NVICP was created in response to civil lawsuits filed against healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers, which resulted in manufacturers incurring significant financial liability. Vaccines are an important part of public health, working to save lives by preventing disease. Most of the time, vaccines are administered without any serious problems. Like with any medication, however, there is a risk of side effects, ranging from mild to serious. With the implementation of the NVICP, both vaccine manufacturers and private individuals are considered. The Program promotes public health interests while remaining prepared for negative outcomes in individual cases.
Vaccines covered under NVICP include:
- Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, or 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
The Health Resources and Services Administration keeps an up to date list of vaccines covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The most recent list (revised March 21, 2017) can be found here.
Who can file in the NVICP?
Anyone can file a petition in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, regardless of age or citizenship status, as long as the effects of the injury (1) lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccination, (2) resulted in inpatient hospitalization and surgical intervention, or (3) resulted in death.
You may file a petition if:
- You received a covered vaccine and believe you have been injured as a result of this treatment;
- You are the parent or legal guardian of a child or disabled adult whom you believe has been injured by a covered vaccine;
- You are the legal representative of the estate of a deceased person who you believe was injured by a covered vaccine and/or whose death you believe was a result of treatment with a covered vaccine.
The covered vaccine must have been administered in the United States or its territories unless:
- The person who received the vaccine was, at the time of treatment, serving abroad as a member of the Armed Forces or as an U.S. Government employee, or is the dependent of such a citizen; or
- The vaccine was manufactured in the United States and the person filing the petition returned to the United States within 6 months of the date of vaccination.
How do I file?
In cases of injury, petitions must be filed within 3 years of the first symptom or manifestation of the injury. In cases involving death, petitions must be filed within 2 years of death and within 4 years of the first symptom in cases where death resulted from the injury. In cases where a vaccine was added to the table of covered vaccinations, petitions must be filed within 2 years of the date of the table change, and injuries or death must have occurred within the 8 years prior to the table change. In order to petition for compensation through the NVICP, you must file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Because this is a legal process, many petitioners retain an attorney to assist them in this process.
How much will it cost?
Unlike traditional legal cases, petitioners who file claims in the NVICP do not pay any legal fees. Attorneys’ fees and costs can be paid by the NVICP, not the injured petitioners. Just as the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund is used to compensate those who suffer from vaccine-related injuries or death, these funds may be used to compensate legal counsel representing petitioners. Conway Homer, P.C. is the most experienced vaccine injury law firm in the United States. We represent clients from all 50 states and have advocated for landmark cases that have shaped the Vaccine Program and made it friendlier and more generous to those individuals who suffer from vaccine injuries. To get in touch with our dedicated team on The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, click here for a free consultation.