How the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Works

new york vaccine injury

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Most people who get vaccines will experience no major side effects.

As with any other medical treatment, vaccines may cause some complications, but they’re often extremely mild and quite rare. In fact, many health problems that follow vaccinations do not actually stem from the vaccines themselves.

On the other hand, there are some circumstances in which vaccines cause serious issues, such as allergic reactions. When this happens, victims may turn to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which provides individuals who have been injured by vaccines with compensation after they file a petition and have their case investigated.

Even if that finding is not ultimately made, those who petition still have the potential to recover compensation via legal settlement.

How does the program work?

The VICP is an alternative for people who have been injured, but do not wish to go through the traditional legal system or do not have a case for negligence. It is a no-fault system that allows injured parties to recover damages, somewhat like the workers’ compensation insurance system.

The program was originally established in the 1980s after numerous lawsuits filed against vaccine companies ran the risk of causing a vaccine shortage and reducing overall vaccination rates in the United States. That would have led to a sudden resurgence of many preventable diseases that had mostly been eradicated due to vaccines.

Anyone who has been injured by a covered vaccine may file a petition with VICP for compensation. Parents and legal guardians may file these petitions on behalf of their children or disabled adults, and legal representatives or family members can file on behalf of an individual who died from the injury.

Below is a quick overview of how the process works:

  • The individual files a petition in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews the petition to determine if it meets the requirements for compensation
  • The Department of Justice prepares a full report, including the medical recommendation, and submits it to the Court of Federal Claims
  • A special master reads the report and decides if the petitioner will be compensated, typically after a hearing in which both parties can present evidence
  • The court orders the DHHS to award compensation
  • Even if the petition is ultimately dismissed, the court may still order the department to compensate the petitioner for attorneys’ fees and other costs

For more information on the VICP and your legal options, consult a skilled New York vaccine injury attorney at Robinson & Yablon, P.C.

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