While vaccines serve an essential public health function by preventing serious and potentially life threatening diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and even influenza, these same vaccines can cause serious injuries and even death to a small number of people who receive them.
Such injuries include, but are not limited to, Guillain Barre Syndrome, anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, chronic arthritis, and adhesive capsulitis.
In 1988, the Congress created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines at reasonable costs while at the same time providing an efficient mechanism to compensate people injured by vaccines.
The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system that allows injured people to make administrative claims instead of filing a lawsuit. The claims are decided by Administrative Law Judges and Special Masters employed by the United States Court of Federal Claims. While it is a no-fault system in that the injured party does not have to prove negligence, it is also an adversarial system where the Department of Justice represents the interests of the VICP and the injured party can be represented by an attorney of his or her own choosing.
|Vaccine||Illness, Disability, or Injury Covered||Time Period for First Symptom After Vaccine Administration|
|Vaccines containing tetanus toxoid (e.g., DTaP, DTP, DT, Td, or TT)||Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock||4 hours|
|Brachial Neuritis||2-28 days|
|Vaccines containing whole cell pertussis bacteria, extracted or partial cell pertussis bacteria, or specific pertussis antigen(s) (e.g., DTP, DTaP, P, DTP-Hib)||Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock||4 hours|
|Encephalopathy (or encephalitis)||72 hours|
|Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine or any of its components (e.g., MMR, MR, M, R)||Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock||4 hours|
|Encephalopathy (or encephalitis)||5-15 days|
|Vaccines containing rubella virus (e.g., MMR, MR, R)||Chronic arthritis||7-42 days|
|Vaccines containing measles virus (e.g., MMR, MR, R)||Thrombocytopenic purpura||7-30 days|
|Vaccine-Strain Measles Viral Infection in an immunodeficient recipient||6 months|
|Vaccines containing polio live virus (OPV)||Paralytic Polio||30 days-6 months|
|Vaccine-Strain Polio Viral Infection||30 days-6 months|
|Vaccines containing polio inactivated virus (e.g., IPV)||Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock||4 hours|
|Hepatitis B. vaccines||Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock||4 hours|
The damages recoverable include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages and up to $250,000 for past and future pain and suffering. The VICP also pays for reasonable attorney’s fees for claimants, so injured people do not have to pay their attorneys out of the money they are awarded in damages for their injuries.
Why Faraci Lange Makes the Difference
At Faraci Lange, we have experience in analyzing, preparing and filing vaccine claims for injured people. These claims, while outside the traditional tort system, require the collection and preparation of voluminous documentation that can include all of an injured party’s medical records, employment information and tax records.
Identification and selection of qualified expert witnesses on issues ranging from the diagnosis of vaccine-related injuries (like Guillain Barre Syndrome, anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, chronic arthritis and death), the causal connection between the vaccination and a given injury, and the economic impact of a vaccine injury, is also needed.