There has been much debate around vaccines lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they continue to protect people from diseases like the flu, mumps, tuberculosis, and yellow fever.
Vaccines in the U.S. are safe, but they can cause mild to severe effects just like any other medical intervention. Hundreds of people file vaccine injury claims annually through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), mostly related to flu shots. If you have been diagnosed with a vaccine injury, a personal injury attorney can help you file for compensation.
How Can a Vaccine Cause Injury?
Vaccine reactions like pain at the injection location and fever are expected, and they quickly subside on their own. In rare cases, however, vaccines can cause severe ailments like shoulder injury and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Shoulder injury can occur if the vaccine was administered poorly and resulted in intense pain and reduced mobility of the shoulder and arm. A patient may need physical therapy and even surgery to regain the full function of their shoulder. Guillain-Barre syndrome, often linked to the flu shot, is a rare neurological disorder where the immune system attacks itself.
Filing Your Vaccine Injury Case
If you are suffering from a vaccine injury, you can file for compensation under the VICP. Vaccine injury litigation is different from civil lawsuits, as you won't be filing a complaint against a medical practitioner or pharmaceutical firm. Instead, your personal injury attorney will submit a petition to the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC.
A Special Master, a judge, specializing in vaccine injury claims, will be appointed to determine your petition. The defendant will be the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice.
You will especially require the expertise of a personal injury attorney if the DHS challenges your claim. The government will present medical professionals to dispute the allegation that the vaccine caused injuries. Your lawyer will counter the argument with an expert physician, your family and friends, and your doctor, if possible.
What Documentation Do You Need?
Personal injury lawyers use medical records to argue for compensation in vaccine injury cases. Therefore, your attorney will need a list of every hospital you have visited after the vaccination and doctors who have treated you for vaccine injury.
What Type of Compensation Can You Expect?
A payout will typically include compensation for past and present medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Nearly 70% of all VICP compensation arises from negotiated settlements, where the DHS has not concluded definitively that the vaccine caused the alleged injury.