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What Is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

Vaccinations will prevent more than 700,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, in some cases, they can cause harm, such as allergic reactions or serious side effects.

When this occurs, patients may be able to obtain compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The federal program, which serves as a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system, provides compensation to vaccine-related injury or death claims for certain childhood vaccines, such as diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; influenza; polio; and measles, mumps, and rubella.

Only certain individuals can pursue a VICP claim, including the recipient of a covered vaccine, the parent or legal guardian of a child or disabled adult who received a vaccine, and the legal representative of the estate of a deceased person who received a vaccine. In addition, to be eligible to file a claim, the effects of the person’s injury must have 1) lasted for more than 6 months after the vaccine was given; or 2) resulted in a hospital stay and surgery; or 3) resulted in death.

Claims also must be filed by certain deadlines. For an injury, the claim must be filed within three years after the first symptom of the vaccine injury. For a death, the claim must be filed within two years of the death and four years after the start of first symptom of the vaccine-related injury from which the death occurred.

All claims must be filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and must include the claim (or petition) and two copies, a Court of Federal Claims cover sheet, medical records and/or other documentation, and a $400 filing fee. While injury victims do not need a lawyer to file a claim, the VICP is a legal process. Therefore, it is advisable to retain an attorney to guide you through the process.

If you or someone you care about has suffered a vaccine injury, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please contact a San Diego vaccine injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.