The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides a source of financial recovery for individuals diagnosed with vaccine injuries. Filing a vaccine injury claim under the VICP involves submitting a petition to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C., and claimants must have adequate documentation to substantiate their petitions.
Generally, when it comes to filing a vaccine injury claim, the more documentation you have, the better. If you can submit documentation that clearly demonstrates both your eligibility and the amount you are entitled to recover, you are far more likely to receive a favorable pre-hearing settlement. With that said, there are no guarantees, and even individuals with well-documented claims will encounter challenges in some cases.
So, what documentation can National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) claimants use to prove their right to financial compensation? Here are 10 ways to document your vaccine injury claim:
The first piece of documentation you will need when seeking financial compensation under the VICP is proof of your vaccination. This proof can take various forms. If you received a vaccine at your doctor’s office, your immunization should be reflected in your medical records. If you got a flu shot or other vaccine at a pharmacy, then you may simply have a receipt documenting the transaction. The form of documentation you have isn’t important—as long as it confirms which vaccine you received and when.
In addition to proof of your vaccination, you will also need proof of your vaccine injury. Typically, this proof comes in the form of diagnostic records and test results obtained through your health care provider. Types of records commonly used to document vaccine injuries include:
If you did not receive copies of your test results or scans during your visit to the doctor’s office or hospital, you can request copies from your provider. Alternatively, your attorney can obtain copies (with your authorization) when assembling your vaccine injury claim.
Your vaccination and diagnostic records will prove that you have a vaccine injury, but you will need your treatment records (along with various other forms of documentation) to prove how much you are entitled to recover. As you attend your doctor’s appointments, you will want to get in the habit of collecting copies of your treatment records from each visit. While you (or your attorney) can obtain these records later if necessary, it is helpful to have them readily available if possible.
If your doctor prescribes NSAIDs, anti-inflammatories, or any other medications, your prescriptions and pharmacy receipts will also be important evidence in support of your vaccine injury claim. Not only are you entitled to recover your prescription costs (along with your medical costs and any other out-of-pocket expenses), but your prescription records can help with demonstrating the severity of your injury’s non-financial impacts as well.
The VICP pays financial compensation for all out-of-pocket costs successful claimants incur as a result of their vaccine injuries. If you have incurred transportation or other expenses in connection with your diagnosis, treatment or recovery, these are costs you will want to make sure you have documented as well.
The VICP also pays financial compensation for successful claimants’ loss of income. If you have missed days or weeks from work as a result of your vaccine injury—or if you will miss time from work in the future—you will need documentation of your income in order to collect just compensation. Your recent pay stubs should show the number of days you have missed from work, while your recent W-2s and 1040s will be needed to substantiate your claim for lost earnings.
Along with your medical and employment records, a calendar documenting your appointments and the days you’ve missed from work can help paint a picture of the severity of your vaccine injury. Keeping a calendar can also help ensure that you do not overlook any doctor’s appointments or missed days that should be included in your claim.
Vaccine injury claims under the VICP have three main components: (i) medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, (ii) loss of income, and (iii) pain and suffering. One of the best ways to document your pain and suffering is by keeping a daily log or “pain journal.” This is a place where you will record the day-to-day effects of your vaccine injury—from living with chronic pain to missing your children’s performances and other events.
Photos and videos can also help with proving the pain and suffering caused by a vaccine injury. Images documenting the challenges you face during the recovery process can go a long way toward demonstrating that you deserve compensation above and beyond recovery of your direct financial losses.
Finally, testimony from friends and family can also serve as strong evidence in support of a vaccine injury claim. While you shouldn’t try to obtain statements from your friends and loved ones yourself (this is a task that your attorney should handle), you should begin thinking about who you might want to have provide a written statement or testify on your behalf. While you might not feel comfortable asking, you should keep in mind that your friends and loved ones will almost certainly be more than happy to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
If you are entitled to compensation for a vaccine injury under the VICP, one of the most important things you can do is discuss your situation with an attorney. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, please call 202-800-1711 or request an appointment online today.
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.