Vaccines have been a wonderful scientific advancement for millions of people in the U.S. For many people, vaccines have helped to prevent common illnesses, such as measles, polio, diphtheria, and many more, that killed and injured thousands of people just a few decades ago.
However, for some people vaccines can be deadly. They may have a serious reaction to the vaccines which results in a serious handicap or even death. Others may have minor reactions to the vaccines that go away quickly. For many people who are affected by vaccines, they may not know that they will have a reaction to the vaccine until it’s too late. Most schools require that children be vaccinated before they can enroll, and a child may have a serious reaction to one of the required shots.
Fortunately, for those who are injured by vaccines, legal and financial help is available. A program called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was set up by the federal government to help those people who are seriously injured by some vaccines. The VICP’s funding comes through the sale of vaccines – a portion of the purchase price from each vaccine sold is required to be paid into the VICP.
Under federal and state law, if you have been injured by a vaccine, you cannot sue your doctor or the manufacturer of the vaccine. Instead, you must make a claim with the VICP, which is brought in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. Vaccine manufacturers and doctors who administer them have been given special protection by law, because the government wants to encourage the development and sale of vaccines. If vaccine manufacturers and doctors could be sued for their patients’ reactions to vaccines, they would naturally be reluctant to continue developing and administering vaccines.
If you have been injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim with the VICP. Those cases are decided by a Special Master, who will decide if the individual is entitled to compensation and how much. Those decisions can be appealed through the federal court system. Any adult who has been injured by a vaccine can file a claim, as well as the parents or guardians of a child who was harmed by a vaccine. However, only certain vaccines are covered by the VICP, including vaccines for rotavirus, chicken pox, polio, diphtheria, pneumococcal conjugate, flu, measles, mumps, rubella, hemophilus influenza type B, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis A and B.
Those who are injured can receive compensation for both their medical expenses and their pain and suffering, as well as lost earnings. The loved ones of an individual who was killed can be awarded up to $250,000 for the death.
If you have been injured by a vaccine, it’s important that you speak with a personal injury attorney right away. There are time limits on how long a person has to file a claim – typically it’s between two and three years. Fortunately, attorney’s fees and court costs are awarded by the VICP, so victims will not be responsible for paying for those out-of-pocket – those are awarded separately from the compensation award. Also, normally a trip to Washington, D.C. is not required. Most cases will be settled or handled locally.
If you have been the victim of a bad reaction to a vaccine, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco Vaccine Litigation Attorney. She works with clients to help them obtain compensation for their injuries. Call her today at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with clients throughout the Bay area, including Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, San Jose, and Berkeley. Call to learn more about your options or to schedule your free consultation.