Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), individuals diagnosed with vaccine-related illnesses and injuries can recover compensation for four categories of losses: (i) out-of-pocket expenses (including medical bills), (ii) loss of income, and (iii) pain and suffering, and (iv) the cost of future medical care. These losses can add up quickly, and the compensation available includes not only compensation for past losses, but for projected future losses as well.
When pursuing a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, it is critical for individuals who have been diagnosed with a vaccine-related illness or injury to have a clear picture of their past and future losses. Claimants who pursue claims without all of the necessary information risk settling for too little, and risk failing to seek adequate compensation when submitting a demand for damages for claims filed before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (the “Vaccine Court”). This means that keeping thorough records is extremely important. Below are three tips that individuals diagnosed with vaccine-related injuries can follow to help improve their chances of securing maximum compensation:
1. Ask for Copies of Your Medical Records
While you (or your lawyer) can request copies of your medical records later, when you have been diagnosed with a vaccine injury, it can be helpful to collect copies of your records each time you attend a medical appointment. This way, you will have your records available to discuss with your attorney during your initial consultation. Additionally, if you are running out of time to file your claim, your lawyer can review the strength of a potential claim without having to wait to file a petition for compensation under the VICP.
2. Get in the Habit of Collecting Bills and Receipts
Along with copies of your medical records, you should also get in the habit of keeping copies of your medical bills and collecting receipts for all injury-related expenses. While you may be able to gather information about your expenses later (for example, through your checking account and credit card statements), compiling your bills and receipts will help save time and may help you avoid overlooking costs that may eligible for compensation.
3. Keep a Vaccine Injury Diary or Journal
One frequently asked question is, “How can a claimant prove his level of pain and suffering?” While there are legally-recognized methods for calculating pain and suffering, as a claimant under the VICP, one of the most important things you can do is to keep a diary or journal that recounts all of the ways in which your injury or illness has impacted your life. This can also be a good place to keep track of doctor’s visits, prescriptions, time missed from work and other injury-related information, and the key is simply to be as consistent and thorough as possible. A vaccine injury journal should include information such as:
- The date and time of medical visits
- Trips to the pharmacy
- Days and hours missed from work (and whether you took a sick day, vacation day or other paid time off)
- Daily pain logs to document pain levels
- Family and social events you were unable to attend due to your injuries
- Household tasks you were unable to perform due to your injuries (and whether you had to hire outside help to complete them)
Questions? Schedule a Free Consultation with Attorney Leah V. Durant
If you would like more information about the steps to help protect your rights after a vaccine injury, contact us for a free consultation. To schedule an appointment with national vaccine lawyer Leah V. Durant, contact (202) 800-1711 or send us a message online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Leah Durant represents clients in vaccine litigation claims. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney at the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a vaccine law 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 compensation for their injuries. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.