Have you experienced a serious health problem following a vaccination? Or do you have a child or acquaintance who had an adverse reaction to a vaccine? The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) offers a no-fault option for resolving vaccine injury claims. Over the last 21 years, the program has paid $1.9 billion in awards and attorneys' fees.
The money comes from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund. The Department of Treasury collects an excise tax of $0.75 on each vaccine dose to supply the Trust Fund. The VICP is the first step in any litigation for vaccine injuries. This program pays attorneys' fees if certain minimum requirements are met, even if the case is dismissed. Cases that meet the filing requirements almost always qualify for payment of attorney's fees, and representation by an attorney is strongly recommended. After you receive the decision in this program, you can elect to either accept the findings or pursue further lawsuits against the manufacturer or administrator of the vaccine.
This is not for trivial injuries. To qualify for filing a claim, the effects of the vaccine injury must meet at least one of these conditions:
1. duration of at least 6 months,
2. hospitalization AND surgery,
The program began in October 1988. Since then, there have been 13,162 petitions filed (as of October 20, 2009). On average, it takes 2 to 3 years for a petition to be adjudicated. So far, 7,323 cases have been completed. Of these, there have been 2,365 compensation awards. The time required for the case depends on the type of injury and the extent of damages.
The vaccines covered by this program are:
1. Influenza (seasonal only, not H1N1)
2. Haemophilus influenzae type b
3. Pneumococcal conjugate
4. Human papillomavirus (HPV)
5. Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis
6. Hepatitis A
7. Hepatitis B
8. Measles, mumps, rubella
13. Any combination of the vaccines listed above.
The vaccine responsible for the most filings is diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP). Nearly 4,000 petitions have been filed, with 32% resulting in compensation awards.