The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has issued compensation awards to nearly 9,000 claimants since its establishment in 1988. However, more than half of all claims filed under the program have been denied. With this in mind, is it worth filing a claim if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness? If so, is it worth hiring a vaccine injury lawyer to represent you?
If you believe you may have a VICP claim, it is absolutely worth speaking with a vaccine injury lawyer about your legal rights. Here are some important facts and statistics about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:
1. VICP Claim Denials Have Become Less Common
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the “Vaccine Court”) used to routinely deny more claims than it compensated. In fact, until about a decade ago, it was not unusual for the Vaccine Court to deny far more claims than it approved in any given year.
But, this has recently changed. Since 2014, the Vaccine Court has consistently issued more compensation awards than denials each year. For example, in 2021, the Vaccine Court approved 754 awards while denying just 249 claims.
Why is this the case? While the answer isn’t clear, a likely explanation is that more claimants are hiring lawyers than in years past. Filling a successful VICP claim isn’t easy—and success is never guaranteed—but a vaccine injury lawyer who routinely handles these claims will have a clear understanding of what is needed to secure a compensation award under the program.
2. The VICP Paid More Than $208 Million to Successful Claimants in 2021
While every case is unique, VICP compensation awards tend to be substantial. In 2021, for example, the Vaccine Court awarded more than $208 million to successful claimants—for an average award of approximately $280,000. Over the past nine years, total compensation awards issued under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program have averaged over $200 million annually:
- 2020 – $186.9 million awarded to 733 VICP claimants
- 2019 – $196.2 million awarded to 653 VICP claimants
- 2018 – $199.6 million awarded to 521 VICP claimants
- 2017 – $255.2 million awarded to 706 VICP claimants
- 2016 – $230.1 million awarded to 689 VICP claimants
- 2015 – $204.1 million awarded to 508 VICP claimants
- 2014 – $202.1 million awarded to 365 VICP claimants
- 2013 – $254.7 million awarded to 375 VICP claimants
As of April 1, the Vaccine Court has awarded just over $88 million to 497 claimants so far in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s 2022 fiscal year.
3. The VICP Covers Medical Bills, Lost Wages, and Pain and Suffering
When filing claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, claimants can seek compensation for three categories of losses: (i) medical bills, (ii) lost wages, and (iii) pain and suffering. The compensation available for medical bills and lost wages is unlimited, while damages for pain and suffering are capped at $250,000 under the VICP.
The value of a VICP claim is based entirely on the claimant’s personal losses. There is no “standard” compensation award, and it is up to claimants to prove how much they deserve. If you have a claim, your vaccine injury lawyer will use your medical records, employment records and various other forms of evidence to prove the current and future costs of your vaccine-related injury or illness.
4. You Can Hire a Vaccine Injury Lawyer at No Cost to You
Claimants can hire lawyers to handle their National Vaccine Injury Compensation Programs at no cost. This is because the VICP pays claimants’ legal fees separately from their compensation awards. Unlike traditional personal injury claims, lawyers do not handle vaccine injury claims under the VICP on a contingency fee basis. As a result, successful claimants keep 100 percent of their awards, less any direct costs incurred (i.e. copying and mailing costs). Under no circumstances should you have to pay anything out-of-pocket for your legal representation.
5. The Financial and Non-Financial Costs of Vaccine Injuries Can Be Substantial
While we’ve touched on this above in our discussion of successful VICP claims, it is worth emphasizing the potential costs of vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. In many cases, vaccine recipients’ medical bills alone will far exceed what they can afford to pay. If an injured or sick vaccine recipient is unable to work, keeping up with their finances can quickly become unmanageable. Add in pain and suffering, and being diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness can truly be a life-altering experience.
Even if your VICP claim is worth well below the average award of approximately $280,000 in 2021, you still have every reason to assert your legal rights. You do not deserve to bear the costs of an adverse reaction or vaccine administration error—and you do not have to do so. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is specifically intended to help people in your shoes.
Another important fact to keep in mind about the VICP is that it provides compensation for vaccine-related injuries and illnesses on a “no-fault” basis. As long as you have been diagnosed with an eligible vaccine injury or illness and you meet certain other basic requirements, you are entitled to financial compensation under the program. You do not need to prove that the vaccine’s manufacturer or your healthcare provider is responsible for your condition. This removes a significant barrier to recovering financial compensation, and it streamlines the process of filing a successful claim.
Discuss Your Claim with National Vaccine Injury Lawyer Leah V. Durant
If you would like to know more about filing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, or if you would like to find out if you are eligible to file a claim, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with national vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant, please call 202-800-1711 or tell us how we can reach you online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.