During the 1980s, parents began filing lawsuits against vaccine makers and administering medical staff after children were harmed or killed by the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTP) vaccine. Many vaccine manufacturers were forced to halt production of numerous vaccines, causing shortages and threatening public health.
In October of 1988, the National Childhood Injury Act of 1986 created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to ensure a steady supply of vaccines and to institute a way for those injured by vaccines to receive compensation.
When someone decides to report a claim for a vaccine-related injury or death, they, or their appointed attorney, must file a petition for compensation with the Court. A Health and Human Services (HHS) physician, in conjunction with an attorney from the Department of Justice (DOJ), then review the claim to determine if it meets the medical and legal criteria for compensation. If the claim meets all criteria, the DOJ attorney files a report conceding entitlement to compensation.
If entitlement to compensation is disputed, the injured party’s attorney and the DOJ attorney present the claim to a “Special Master” at a trial, where the Special Master decides whether entitlement to compensation is appropriate under the VICP regulations. If compensation is denied by the Special Master, the decision may be appealed through the U.S. court system by the injured party. If the case is found in favor of the injured party, the compensation is negotiated between the Department of Justice and the injured party’s attorney. If there is no agreement on compensation, a special hearing is scheduled to assess the amount of compensation.
When compensation is awarded, reimbursement is included for attorney fees and other costs. The injured party can also file a civil claim against the vaccine company or the vaccine administrator if they choose to reject the initial decision.
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is funded by a surcharge on CDC recommended vaccines given to children. The funds are place in a trust fund by the government for use to reimburse vaccine victims.
For more information on reporting a vaccine injury claim to the VICP, please call our office today to speak with one of our vaccination law experts at (877) 978-2445
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Handling Vaccine Cases Since 1988
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