Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
By Mary Ann Pekara
What the VICP May Mean for You
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP was established not only to regulate the supply and costs of vaccines, but also to provide recourse to individuals suffering from vaccine injuries.
The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system decided by the U. S. Court of Federal Claims.
Awards of future and past medical care, lost earnings, legal fees as well as up to $250,000 for pain and suffering are available to those who have suffered vaccine injuries; the $250,000 amount is the cap for wrongful deaths, to be paid to the victim's estate.
Are You Eligible for Vaccine Injury Compensation?
Individuals who received vaccines covered by the VICP, as well as their parents, legal guardians or legal representatives, are eligible to file personal injury claims for compensation if the vaccine injuries they sustained:
- lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccine was given;
- resulted in a hospital stay and surgery; or
- 3) resulted in death.
The Health Resources and Services Administration notes that most individuals filing personal injury claims under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program choose to hire a lawyer, and that provided minimal requirements are met, legal fees will be reimbursed by the HRSA even if the personal injury claim is not granted.
Civil lawsuits seeking further compensation are not prevented by filing a VICP claim; a personal injury lawyer will have further insight into the matter.
Vaccines Covered by the Vaccine Injury Program
The VICP reserves the right to add new vaccines to the following list as they are identified as harmful:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, or TT)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (TIV, LAIV) [given each year during the flu season]
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR, MR, M, R)
- Meningococcal (MCV4, MPSV4)
- Polio (OPV or IPV)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
- Rotavirus (RV)
- Varicella (VZV)
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and Autism
Since 2001, thousands of parents have filed lawsuits under the VICP seeking personal injury damages for autism and other developmental disorders arising from alleged links to Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccines and/or thimerosal, an antiseptic and antifungal agent used in vaccines.
As of May 2008, around 350 cases have been dismissed, and only one has resulted in compensation for the plaintiff. Only one family, that of 9-year-old Hannah Poling, has been awarded money, though court officials made it clear that they were not establishing a precedent making the unsupported link between exposure to thimerosal and autism.
Instead, they ruled that inoculation with nine vaccines, only two of which included thimerosal, contributed to a condition that found its cause in a mitochondrial disorder.
Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer about Filing a Claim in Vaccine Court
Though it may be difficult to provide the solid proof that a successful claim requires, if you or a loved one has suffered vaccine injuries, you may have no choice for seeking compensation but to present a claim to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Speaking to a local injury attorney is the best way to get this process started. Total injury will connect you directly with an attorney in your area, if you simply complete our free personal injury case evaluation form or call 877-288-7564.
The above summary of the VICP is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information about VICP, speak to a personal injury attorney in your area.