When you or a loved one experiences a vaccine-related injury, filing a report helps the government assess the overall safety of the vaccines administered in the United States. Vaccine injury reports help agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) make informed decisions about future vaccine recommendations—and filing a report is one of the most important steps you can take to help protect yourself, your loved ones and others in the future.
But, should you report your (or your loved one’s) vaccine injury to VAERS or the VICP (or both)?
In many cases, the answer is both. While the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the main tool the government uses to monitor vaccine safety, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) pays financial compensation to eligible vaccine recipients and their families. Learn more from national vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant:
What is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)?
The VAERS is “a national program managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to monitor the safety of all vaccines licensed in the United States.” As the CDC goes on to explain, “VAERS collects and reviews reports of adverse events that occur after vaccination. An ‘adverse event’ is any health problem or ‘side effect’ that happens after a vaccination.”
Patients, family members and healthcare providers can all file vaccine injury reports with VAERS. Once a report is filed, health experts at the CDC or FDA review the report to determine the severity of the adverse event it describes. If these health experts determine that further inquiry is warranted, they will conduct research to assess whether the adverse event “is related to a vaccination and identify any specific risk factors” for other vaccine recipients.
VAERS reports can be filed online using either the online reporting tool or a downloadable form. Both versions have instructions that patients, family members and healthcare providers can use to ensure that they complete their adverse event reports as accurately and comprehensively as possible.
What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is very different from VAERS. While VAERS is a reporting tool designed to help the government monitor vaccine safety, the VICP is a federal program that is designed to provide a source of financial recovery for individuals and families affected by vaccine-related injuries.
Rather than filing a report under the VICP, a patient or family member files a claim or “petition” in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (also known as the “Vaccine Court”). Once filed, government attorneys review the petition to determine if it establishes a valid claim for VICP compensation. If it does, they will work to settle the petitioner’s claim in most cases. But, if it doesn’t, they will dispute the claim in the Vaccine Court. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the claim will be denied—but it does mean that additional effort will be necessary.
The VICP covers eligible claimants’ medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Compensation for medical costs and lost earnings under the VICP is unlimited, while compensation for pain and suffering is capped at $250,000. For more on VICP claim eligibility, you can read: Who Can File a Vaccine Injury Claim?
When Should You File a Vaccine Injury Report with VAERS?
When should you file a vaccine injury report with VAERS? The CDC encourages “anyone who experiences an adverse event after receiving a vaccine to report to VAERS.” Adverse events can range from a high fever to a severe allergic reaction and from limited shoulder mobility to bowel or bladder dysfunction. If you seek treatment for your (or your loved one’s) condition, your doctor should be able to advise whether a VAERS report is warranted.
When Should You File a Vaccine Injury Claim Under the VICP?
When should you file a vaccine injury claim under the VICP? You should talk to a lawyer about filing a claim if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any type of vaccine-related injury or illness. It costs nothing out-of-pocket to hire a lawyer to represent you. An experienced vaccine injury lawyer will be able to determine your eligibility and provide a preliminary assessment of the amount you may be able to recover.
If you decide to move forward with filing a VICP claim, your lawyer will be able to prepare your petition and deal with the government’s attorneys on your behalf. Your lawyer will also be able to help you decide whether to accept a settlement (if an offer is on the table) and represent you in the Vaccine Court if necessary.
Should You File a VAERS Report and a VICP Claim?
Should you file a VAERS report and a VICP claim? In many cases, the answer will be “Yes.” VAERS and the VICP are different programs managed by different federal agencies for different purposes. If you only file a VAERS report, you will not have the opportunity to recover just compensation for your (or your family member’s) vaccine injury. Conversely, if you only file a VICP claim, your (or your family member’s) vaccine injury may not end up in the VAERS system—though your doctor may still file a report.
As with all health-related matters, informed decision-making is key. If you have questions about what you should do following a vaccine injury diagnosis, we invite you to contact us for more information. With offices in Washington D.C. just blocks from the Vaccine Court, we represent VICP claimants nationwide.
Contact Vaccine Injury Lawyer Leah V. Durant for More Information
Do you need to know more about what to do following a vaccine injury diagnosis? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your situation with vaccine injury lawyer Leah V. Durant in confidence, please call 202-800-1711 or tell us how we can help 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.