A FEDERAL PROGRAM TO ADMIRE – THE NATIONAL VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM
It’s very fashionable to mock, denigrate, make fun of and otherwise dismiss Federal programs for their inefficiency and their lack of relevance. However, there are plenty of exceptions…this is one of them.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established in 1986 the U.S. Congress to compensate those who have been injured as a result of a vaccine. Initially, this Compensation Program was strictly for children’s vaccines. It now covers vaccines that adults take as well.
There is no lawsuit. There is a Petitioner. These petitions are heard before the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington. This Court is sometimes inelegantly referred to as the “Vaccine Court.”
The injuries that can occur, rarely, from vaccines are Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), Transverse Myelitis and Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA).
The Judges who hear these cases are called Special Masters, similar to Federal Magistrates. There rulings are appealed to a Judge of the U.S Court of Federal Claims.
So what makes this Program so great you may ask.
First, it is intended to compensate those who are injured by a vaccine. No matter what fear-mongering you may have heard, vaccines are safe and serious reactions are quite rare. However they do occur. This Program allows people to receive their vaccines, knowing that compensation will be available.
Second, this Program generally shield vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits where there is no evidence of a problem with a vaccine. Vaccines introduce foreign substances into our bodies, when this happens there is a chance, albeit small, that our body will react negatively. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program gives compensation to those injured by vaccines, while permitted vaccine manufacturers to continue to innovate and produce life-saving medication.
We all benefit from being vaccinated. Herd immunity means that if most of us are vaccinated, the rest of the “herd,” meaning population, is protected from conditions such as the flu, measles and mumps.
Third, the Program is fast. While lawsuits can take many years to wind their way through the system, the Vaccine Injury Program works relatively fast, with most Petitions being adjudicated or settled withing eighteen (18) months.
Fourth, the Petitioner, meaning the person who suffered a vaccine injury pays no legal fees. Your vaccine injury attorney will be paid, if attorney’s fees are awarded, by the vaccine injury compensation program. You pay no legal fees or costs to the vaccine injury lawyer. If you are successful in receiving compensation, you keep 100% of the amount, you pay nothing to the vaccine injury law firm.
The National Vaccine Injury Program exists to help those injured by a vaccine. It encourages vaccinations. It incentivizes vaccine manufacturers to continue to innovate and produce life-saving vaccines. The vaccine injury petitions are moved with care and speed through the Court of Federal Claims and lastly, you may no legal fees.
The Program is not perfect, but it works and works well.
Howard Gold is a Vaccine Injury attorney and lawyer. Gold Law Firm is a Vaccine Injury Law Firm exclusively assisting those injured by vaccines.