The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that avails compensation for people who sustain injuries from certain vaccines.
While the VICP is an invaluable resource for many people, obtaining compensation is neither guaranteed nor automatic. The petitioner must prove, within the given time limits, that a covered vaccine caused an injury.
In some instances, attributing your injuries to a certain vaccine might not be straightforward. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you improve your chances of success when dealing with the VICP.
Read on to learn more about how to prove you suffered a vaccine-related injury.
Vaccine Injury Table
To consider your eligibility for compensation, the United States Court of Federal Claims uses the Vaccine Injury Table to ensure that your type of vaccine-related injury qualifies.
The Vaccine Injury Table is a reference that lists the majority but not all of the vaccinations administered in the US and the potential effects of these vaccines. The Secretary of Health and Human Services updates this table occasionally.
Importantly, the Table indicates the timeframe within which the symptoms of an injury can occur. This is crucial because if your symptoms show after the established timeframe, the claims court may question whether your injury is vaccine-related.
For example, vaccines containing tetanus toxoid can have several effects including Brachial Neuritis whose symptoms usually occur between 2-28 days.
If the federal claims court finds your injury on the Table and the symptoms are in line with the set timeframe, then yours is an on Table vaccine-related injury that may qualify you for compensation.
Off Table Vaccine Injury
Sometimes, a vaccine-related injury may not appear on the table. This means the injury is off Table, and you will need to prove that a vaccine caused your injury.
To qualify for compensation for an off Table injury, you must provide the following:
- Medical evidence showing that the vaccination caused the injury
- A step-by-step demonstration that shows how certain symptoms developed after you received the vaccine
- Chronological evidence that the vaccination resulted in an injury
In some instances, the vaccine may not have caused a specific injury but rather made an existing injury or illness worse. In this case, the court will still require you to show a relationship between the vaccine and the aggravated injury or illness.
Vaccine Injury Medical Records
All VICP petitioners must submit specific medical records for the court to review and determine eligibility for compensation. Comprehensive medical records are especially important if you have an off Table injury because you have a higher burden of proving that your injury is vaccine-related.
VICP requires you to present the following medical records:
- Prenatal and birth records
- Medical records before vaccination
- Vaccination documents
- Records of post-injury treatment after vaccination
- Outpatient records for post-injury treatment
- Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form if filed
- School and psychological records
- Death records if you petition on behalf of a deceased
For an off Table injury, the testimony of a medical expert can be invaluable in proving that a vaccine caused or worsened your injury. An experienced attorney can help you identify appropriate medical experts to support your case.
Much goes into deciding eligibility for compensation for vaccine-related injuries, and matters can become more complex if your injury does not appear in the VICP reference table. Do not hesitate to consult a reputable personal injury attorney to help with your petition.
If you or a loved one believes a vaccine injured you or worsened a preexisting injury or illness, the skilled attorneys at Vaccine Injury Lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.