While most people receive vaccines on an annual basis and suffer no side effects from these vaccinations, a small percentage of people who receive vaccines, both adults and children alike, suffer adverse reactions. These reactions may range from shoulder injuries related to the administration of a vaccine to debilitating and often permanent neurological conditions. In rare instances, death may occur. These injuries can devastate individuals who were trying to act safely and prudently in keeping themselves and their families healthy by getting recommended or even mandated vaccines. The residual effects of a vaccine injury extend well beyond medical expenses; they include emotional distress and may cause significant changes to one’s life, often necessitating accommodations in housing, transportation, and the hiring of caretakers to tend to a disabled child or adult.
Injuries caused by vaccines are often compensable. In 1986, Congress enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (“the Vaccine Act”) which established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Vaccine Act allows injured individuals to seek compensation while also protecting vaccine manufacturers from excessive exposure to liability arising out of these injuries, and thus discouraging the development and production of vaccines. Rather than suing the manufacturer of the vaccine or the healthcare provider who administered the vaccine, the injured party brings a claim through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program against the federal government. The government, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, adjudicates the claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims, also sometimes called “Vaccine Court.”
To be eligible for compensation under the Vaccine Act, one must have received a vaccine covered by the Vaccine Act that caused an injury or death. If the vaccine caused an injury, the claim must be brought within three years of the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of the significant aggravation of the injury. If the vaccine resulted in death, the claim must be brought within two years of the death and within four years of the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of the significant aggravation of the injury from which the death resulted.
The attorneys at Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. understand the complex procedure of filing a claim in Vaccine Court. We fight to maximize our clients’ recovery and ensure they are compensated for the injuries they have sustained as a result of vaccines.