What to do before filing a claim for vaccine injury compensation
There are many steps that one should take when filing a claim for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The good news is that for most of those steps, your interests will be represented by a lawyer who will walk you through exactly what to do and when to do it.
Prior to retaining counsel, there will likely be many questions that remain to be answered. This article will cover some of the facts an individual should know prior to filing a claim for vaccine compensation.
I think I was injured due to a vaccination: what next?
Anyone injured by a vaccine must file a petition for compensation with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP is a federal program which is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Doctors at HHS review a claimant’s medical records to determine if the case has merit. The Program finds that many cases are entitled to compensation. After that initial review, if the government’s doctors do not believe a petitioner has been injured by a vaccine, they will file a document with the Court of Federal Claims indicating their position on the case. The Court will then decide whether a petitioner is entitled to vaccine compensation, sometimes after holding a hearing to decide if an individual has proven that he or she was, in fact, injured by a covered vaccine. It is important to remember that almost 80 percent of cases are ultimately settled by the government. This means that one’s chances of recovery are generally very good, especially if they have retained the assistance of a qualified vaccine lawyer.
All individuals with vaccine claims must file a petition in the VICP and go through the litigation process as outlined by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Those petitioners who are not satisfied with the result they receive in the VICP are free to reject the judgment entered by the Program and are then able to file a civil lawsuit.
Deciding whether to pursue a claim for vaccine compensation can be a difficult decision. Below is a list of actions that should be taken if an injury is suspected to be vaccine-related.
- Take photographs. Gathering evidence in support of a potential claim is key to a successful outcome. If your injury was caused by a needle injection, be sure to photograph the point of injury. Photos should be taken to document any resulting redness, swelling, inflammation or infection.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. It is not unusual for some amount of time to elapse between the time of vaccination, and the moment when an individual realizes that a vaccine injury may have occurred. When determining next steps following a vaccine injury, the most important thing is for individuals to obtain medical treatment as quickly as possible. It is also important for patients to discuss their injury, as well as the onset of their symptoms, with their physician as soon as possible.If medical records or other information is required, your lawyer will inform you of the steps to be taken in order to ensure smooth processing.
- Retain records of medical bills. With regard to the reimbursement of out of pocket expenses, administrators from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program will rely upon such records to determine the level of compensation to which you may be entitled. It bears noting that any recovery for monies expended will be based on the evidence submitted in support of your claim.
- Seek out the appropriate legal counsel. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program requires that certain procedural steps be followed in order to receive compensation for a vaccine-related injury. Experienced legal counsel will make sure you are properly and fairly represented in your efforts to obtain recovery. Hiring a qualified vaccine lawyer is key to obtaining a successful outcome.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a vaccination, the Vaccine Injury Table (VIT), contains a wealth of information that provides information concerning which vaccines are covered by VICP, as well as associated reactions and illnesses.