What are your Rights under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
People that have experienced a vaccine-related injury can petition the federal government for compensation. Injured people may file petitions on their own or with the help of a lawyer. So far, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid a total of $4.9 billion for 9,346 vaccine-related injury claims since 1988, according to a recent November 01, 2022 report from the HRSA.
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What is the VICP?
*Update: As of November 01, 2022, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had paid a total of $4.9 billion for 9,346 vaccine-related injury claims since 1988 fiscal year. Vaccine Awareness Center’s legal partners are accepting vaccine injury cases.
The government started the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to compensate people who suffer vaccine injuries or death.
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 protects vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits. But, people injured by vaccines may file a petition with the VICP for compensation. They can file on their own or with the help of a vaccine injury lawyer.
Unlike typical injury lawsuits against drug manufacturers, people who use attorneys to file a VICP claim do not pay attorney’s fees. The VICP pays the petitioner’s attorney’s fee.
According to a November 01, 2022 report, there have been about 25,588 petitions since the VICP began in 1988. The program has paid out about $4.9 billion in vaccine compensation and settlements.
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Quick Facts
Number of Petitions
25,588 (October 1988 through November 01, 2022)
$4.9 Billion (October 1988 through November 01, 2022)
Shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA), anaphylaxis (allergic reaction), vasovagal syncope (fainting), Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), encephalopathy (brain inflammation)
How does the VICP Work?
Under the VICP, people who claim vaccine injury must prove a vaccine caused their injuries. In some cases, even if people cannot prove a vaccine injured them, they may receive a vaccine injury settlement from VICP.
VICP payouts can occur in three ways:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services looks at evidence and finds the vaccine caused the injury. The petitioner is entitled to compensation.
A special master of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims makes a decision to compensate or not compensate the petitioner based on evidence presented by both sides.
The government and petitioner negotiate a payment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not admit the vaccine caused injury.
What Vaccines are Covered by the VICP?
The VICP covers a number of commonly administered vaccines.
- Tetanus Vaccine
- Influenza Vaccine "Flu Shot"
- Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccine
- Pneumonia Vaccine
- Meningitis Vaccine
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
- HPV Vaccine
- Hepatitis Vaccine
Who is Eligible for Compensation?
Any person who received a VICP covered vaccine and believes he or she was injured as a result can file a petition for compensation, regardless of age.
Parents, legal guardians and legal representatives can file a petition on behalf of infants, children, disabled adults and deceased persons.
What are the VICP Petition Steps?
- Step 1
A person files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
- Step 2
Medical staff with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation and makes a preliminary recommendation.
- Step 3
The U.S. Justice Department generates and submits a report to the court that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis.
- Step 4
A court-appointed special master receives the report. He or she decides whether to compensate the petitioner. The court typically holds a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If the special master awards compensation, he or she determines the amount and type.
- Step 5
The court orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pay the compensation. The court may order the department to pay attorneys' fees and costs even if it dismisses the petition as long as the claim meets certain requirements.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a VICP Petition?
You can prepare the petition yourself or hire a lawyer to prepare and file one for you. Is a lawyer necessary? A lawyer is not required but is absolutely recommended since these cases are contested by the department of justice attorneys and the team of medical reviewers on their side.
Since clients are not responsible to pay their attorneys fees and costs, it is recommended that all clients obtain representation because the science associated with vaccine injuries is complex and often requires one or more medical experts.
By law, lawyers who help people file VICP claims cannot charge the petitioner fees. The VICP pays lawyers directly if they meet basic requirements.
What are the VICP Vaccine Injury Severity Requirements?
The VICP has injury severity requirements for filing a petition. The injury must last for more than six months or result in inpatient hospitalization, surgical intervention or death.
Officials changed some of the requirements in 2017 to make it easier to obtain compensation in two kinds of cases.
One of those involves people who develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) between three and 42 days after receiving a flu vaccine. In this case, VICP assumes the vaccine caused GBS. This saves the claimant from having to provide proof of causation.
The other change relates to people who suffer SIRVA. SIRVA stands for Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration. The program will automatically assume vaccination caused SIRVA if it happened within 48 hours of any covered vaccine.
What are the VICP Statute of Limitations? (Timeframe for Filing Claims)
In general, the statute of limitations to file a claim is three years from the date a person first has symptoms of an injury. For death, it is two years from the date of death.
The following only applies if the vaccine related injury was either a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) or Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS):
- Requirement changes made in 2017 relaxed the statute of limitations for some people who may not have been able to file previously.
- People may file petitions for injuries and vaccinations covered under the VICP if the injury occurred after March 21, 2009.
- These petitions must be filed before March 21, 2019, to qualify for the temporarily relaxed deadlines.
What are Vaccine Injury Settlements and Payouts?
A payout occurs after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the vaccine court determine a vaccine caused an injury. But petitioners can still receive a vaccine injury settlement if the federal agency and the court do not find a vaccine caused the injury.
More than 80 percent of all compensation the VICP awards is negotiated settlements. In settlements, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not admit the vaccine caused injury.
The person allegedly injured by a vaccine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may decide to settle in order to minimize loss, time and the expense of litigating a case. A settlement may also come out of a desire to resolve a petition quickly.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes quarterly reports on the amount of claims that have been filed in the Vaccine Courts, along with how many of those claims have been compensated. Since 2013, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid the following amounts to injured victims:
|# of Compensated Cases
|Total Payouts to Petitioners
|FY 2019 (in progress)