Overview

Vaccines are one of the revolutionary technologies Science has ever witnessed. It has saved millions of lives from crippling and potentially dreadful pandemics. With these tiny life saviors, the whole world was able to wipe out deadly infectious diseases like polio, diphtheria, pertussis and, so on.

I am sure you all are familiar with the mechanism of action of a vaccine. Vaccines elicit a minor immune response in the human system, thereby producing antibodies against the particular antigen administered.  Let it be a live vaccine, a killed vaccine, or any other vaccine preparations, they train our immune system without making us sick.

After a vaccination, antigen-specific antibodies are produced that interact with the rest of the immune system.  It keeps track of the antigen it had encountered in the vaccine preparation. There we are, ready with the weapons to battle the future attack of the vigorous form of that antigen. In the future, if the individual is exposed to the same harmful microbe, the immune system will be highly responsive, shielding him from infection.

Any discovery could have a negative impact and vaccines are not an exception. Having discussed the positives of vaccines, let’s now get into the heart of the matter, vaccine lawsuits. I hope it would be very beneficial in one’s best interests, especially during this ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19. When you and I are left with no other choice than getting vaccinated, this blog would definitely answer your concerns.

What are the common causes for a vaccine lawsuit, and how is it proceeded? Are COVID vaccine injuries claimable? Let’s find an answer to all these and much more. Before diving into the vaccine lawsuits FAQs, it is foundational to know about the following regulatory bodies involved in vaccine lawsuits.

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National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

Through VICP, the federal government manages a no-fault system to provide compensation to individuals who sustain vaccine injuries. VICP was amended by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. It involves three federal bodies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (the Court).

Petitions of vaccine injuries are filed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims with the supporting documents like medical records such as prenatal, birth, pre-vaccination, vaccination, and post-vaccination records of the petitioner. All these records need to be scrutinized using medical record review process to prove that the petitioner suffer from a vaccine injury.

Vaccines covered for vaccine lawsuits are listed under the vaccine injury table provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Vaccine lawsuits could be proceeded only for those vaccine preparations listed in the vaccine injury table.

Though not mandatory by law, it is advisable to get the guidance of a vaccine injury lawyer to know if your vaccination injury is claimable. Attorneys practiced in the vaccine injury act and vaccine lawsuits would have a case evaluation and analyze if there is a scope for a claim.

IN 2001, umpteen petitions from parents knocked the door of VICP, claiming that autism in their kids was associated with the immunization schedule of the children. They claimed autism as a vaccine injury. Addressing the claims, VICP established a special program in 2002 called the Omnibus Autism Proceeding (OAP)

OAP consolidated all the claims in to three test cases and initiated studies on the relation of the vaccines with autism. The studies pointed out no effect of the particular vaccines in autism. Other theories of causes have not yet been decided, however petitioners are striving to do so.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

It is a national early warning system to report any possible adverse events in a U.S. licensed vaccine preparation. VAERS is managed and funded by to organizations named Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is open to patients, parents, caregivers and healthcare providers (HCP) to report the adverse events of a vaccination.

It is to be noted that VAERS and VICP work as two different entities in detecting and reporting vaccine injury claims. The limitation of VAERS is that the program is not designed to analyze if the particular vaccination causes an adverse event or not. However, it is utilized to address any specific or sudden adverse event of a vaccine that demands further research and trial studies.

Please bear in mind that vaccine lawsuits are not like an ordinary personal injury claim or medical malpractice litigation. They are specialized, complex litigations that may vary from one case to another.

Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP)

The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) provides compensation for injuries and deaths resulting from the administration of “covered countermeasures”. This program is regulated under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. Countermeasure refers to a vaccination, medication, or a medical device used to diagnose, prevent or treat a pandemic or an epidemic.

As of September 1, 2021 data, CICP has received 1,031 claims related to COVID-19 vaccines. CICP covers the vaccines listed under Countermeasure Injury Table. Vaccines for COVID-19, Ebola, Zika, Anthrax, etc. are covered under this program. It is to be noted that individuals who experience only minor side effects from a CICP approved vaccine would not be eligible for vaccine lawsuits and compensation via CICP.

With the above outline on the vaccination regulation authorities and vaccine lawsuits let’s plunge in.

Top ten vaccine injury claim FAQs

According to the CDC, nearly billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the United States between 2006 and 2019. The Court adjudicated 8,855 petitions over this time period, with 6,320 of those receiving compensation. With this data, let us check out some important vaccine lawsuit FAQs.

1. Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to file a vaccine injury claim for COVID vaccines?

No, if all the eligibility requirements for the vaccine injury claim are satisfied, you may proceed with COVID vaccine lawsuits irrespective of your United States citizenship.

2. What is the kind of compensation granted in vaccine lawsuits through VICP?

Compensation for vaccine lawsuits may include pain and suffering, past and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, etc.  For pain and suffering, the restitution is restricted to a maximum of $250,000. However, there is no compensation limit regarding medical expenses and lost wages.

3. I am having severe shoulder pain after my meningitis vaccination. Can I file a claim?

Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) is a common vaccine injury reported in vaccine lawsuits. It occurs when the vaccine is administered too high up on the arm. Can you sue for SIRVA? Consult a vaccine attorney to know if you can have a SIRVA lawsuit.

How long do SIRVA cases take to settle?

Generally, SIRVA cases will be settled within six months-one year. However, the settlement time for the lawsuit may vary depending upon complication of the case.

4. Can I sue Pfizer for an injury related to my COVID-19 vaccination?

No. The Federal government had provided immunity to vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna from liability related to vaccination against COVID-19. This policy was amended by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PERP) Act.

5. After vaccination, I had symptoms that lasted for one week. Am I eligible to file a lawsuit?

Vaccine lawsuits demand the injury to last more than 6 months after the date of vaccination. In case the injury resulted in hospitalization or ended up in a surgery, then you may have a chance for a claim.

6. How long would it take for my vaccine injury claim to settle?

The more complicated your injuries are, the more intricate the case would be. Serious injuries may result in greater awards. Claims can take up to 18-24 months or even longer to be reimbursed.

7. What is the deadline to file COVID-19 vaccine lawsuits?

As per CICP, you have a deadline of one year from the date of your COVID-19 vaccination. In case of missing the filing deadline, the petitioner should request reconsideration of the case in writing. This should be completed within 60 days of the CICP’s determination of ineligibility.

8. I have lost my loved one due to an injury from the COVID-19 vaccine. Can I file a lawsuit?

COVID vaccine lawsuits provide compensation to the dependent of the deceased vaccine recipient. If you are a legal survivor, you can file a vaccine injury claim through CICP.

9. Will the lawyer’s fees and other legal costs will be paid by the CICP in COVID-19  vaccine lawsuits?

No. Attorneys’ fees and other costs of the claim would not be paid by the program for COVID vaccine lawsuits. On the other hand, legal costs of the vaccine lawsuits proceeding through VICP would be paid by the program for deserving claims.

10. What if I have received two vaccinations covered by VICP and NICP and don’t know which vaccine is responsible for my injury?

In such a situation, it is legally permitted to file two individual vaccine lawsuits, one with the VICP and one with NICP. You may not be eligible for compensation from one or both programs, depending on your circumstances.

Conclusion

The vaccination supply in the United States is the safest and most successful it has ever  been. It ensures that immunizations are as safe as possible and vaccine safety is maintained by several phases of clinical trials and Post-licensure safety studies. Various federal, state and local agencies, as well as private entities work conjointly in accomplishing vaccine research, vaccine safety, and reporting of side effects related to vaccinations.

Despite of all these stringent regulations and immunization laws, vaccine lawsuits are always on trend. There is no dispute that immunization errors like improper handling, transportation, and administration of vaccines could be largely prevented. However, certain hyperallergic reactions and immunity responses may not always be properly addressed in vaccine lawsuits. This is because the response of the biological system at times may go wrong.

Vaccination lawsuits would undoubtedly be propelled well by proficient vaccine injury attorneys for better vaccine injury settlements. When you sustain symptoms after vaccination or suspect a vaccine injury, it is mandatory to seek legal attention without delay. This may have a huge impact if you have a vaccination lawsuit.

Do you believe that COVID-19 vaccine development was hastened without compromising on safety? Share your thoughts.