If you are dealing with pain after a flu shot or your child is experiencing symptoms of a vaccine-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Despite providing a source of “no fault” financial compensation for vaccine injuries and paying more than $4.5 billion to vaccine recipients and their families, the VICP remains relatively unknown. Here’s what you need to know about filing a VICP claim in 2023:
10 Key Facts About Filing a VICP Claim in 2023
1. The VICP is a “No Fault” Compensation Program for Vaccine-Related Injuries and Illnesses
The VICP makes financial compensation available to eligible vaccine recipients and their families on a “no fault” basis. This means that you do not need to be able to prove fault (i.e., a vaccination error) to file a successful claim. This removes a significant barrier to recovering just compensation—which is exactly what Congress intended when it established the program.
2. The VICP Covers Most (But Not All) CDC-Recommended Vaccines
The VICP covers the vaccines listed on the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration’s Vaccine Injury Table. As of January 1, 2023, the “covered vaccines” under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are:
- Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP, DTaP, Tdap, DT, Td, TT)
- Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Seasonal influenza
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR, MR, M and R)
- Meningococcal (MCV4, MPSV4, MenB-FHbp and MenB-4C)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
- Polio (OPV or IPV)
- Rotavirus (RV)
- Varicella (VAR)
3. Filing a Successful VICP Claim Requires a Medical Diagnosis (Pain After a Flu Shot Isn’t Enough)
If you or your child is experiencing pain after a flu shot, this alone is not enough to establish a claim under the VICP. To file a successful claim, you will need a medical diagnosis. Of course, getting diagnosed is important for receiving appropriate treatment as well, and we strongly recommend that anyone who has concerns about a possible vaccine-related injury or illness see a doctor as soon as possible.
4. The Timing of Your (or Your Child’s) Symptoms is Important
When filing a VICP claim, the timing of your (or your child’s) symptoms is important. With most common vaccine-related injuries and illnesses, causation is presumed if a vaccine recipient’s symptoms onset within the timeframe specified on the Vaccine Injury Table. This streamlines the process of filing a VICP claim, and it is yet another reason to see a doctor promptly if you have concerns.
5. The VICP Covers Medical Expenses, Lost Wages and Other Out-of-Pocket Costs
Under the VICP, vaccine recipients and their parents can recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs. This includes costs incurred both before and after filing. As a result, you do not need to wait to file a claim—and it is best if you get started on your claim as soon as possible.
6. The VICP Pays Financial Compensation for Pain and Suffering
In addition to paying for medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs, the VICP also compensates eligible vaccine recipients for their pain and suffering. Similar to financial costs, the VICP covers both present and future pain and suffering—though the program caps damages for these “non-financial” losses at $250,000.
7. Seeking Compensation Under the VICP Involves Filing a Claim with the Vaccine Court
While the VICP is a federal program, filing a vaccine injury claim is not like filing for government benefits. Instead, filing a VICP claim involves submitting a petition to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. (which is also known as the Vaccine Court). Your petition must clearly establish your eligibility, and it must also include a request for an appropriate amount of financial compensation based on your (or your family’s) present and future losses.
8. Most VICP Claims Settle Without Going to Court
Even though filing a VICP claim involves submitting a petition to the Vaccine Court, most successful claims settle without claimants needing to set foot in a courtroom. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will negotiate with the government’s attorneys to secure a settlement offer on your behalf. If you receive an acceptable settlement offer, your lawyer will submit the offer to the Vaccine Court for approval, you will get paid, and that will be the end of your claim.
9. You Can Hire a Lawyer at No Out-of-Pocket Cost
You can hire a lawyer to handle your VICP claim at no out-of-pocket cost. The VICP pays claimants’ legal fees separately from their compensation awards, so your legal fees will not be deducted from your settlement or award if your claim is successful. If your claim is unsuccessful for any reason, you still owe nothing for your legal representation.
10. You Need to File Your VICP Claim Before You Run Out of Time
All VICP claims are subject to a statute of limitations. For non-fatal vaccine injuries, you have three years from the first onset of symptoms to file a claim.
Even though you have up to three years to file a VICP claim, you should not delay your claim any longer than necessary. Not only will this delay your financial recovery, but it may also add unnecessary challenges to the process of filing a successful claim. While many people are apprehensive about hiring a lawyer, hiring a lawyer streamlines the process, and your lawyer can help ensure that you do everything necessary to recover the financial compensation you and your family deserve.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your VICP Claim
If you or your child has experienced pain after a flu shot (or any other vaccination) and subsequently been diagnosed with a vaccine-related injury or illness, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights. To discuss your VICP claim with vaccine lawyer Leah V. Durant in confidence, call 202-800-1711 or request an appointment online today.
Leah Durant Bio
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.
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