Navigating the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

by | Dec 14, 2022 | Vaccine Injuries

Vaccines play a critical role in preventing disease by helping your immune system fight infections faster and more effectively. When you get a vaccine – whether it’s for the mumps, measles, or flu – you help protect yourself and your community.

Most people who get vaccines have no serious reaction. But like any medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. While most are mild, in some cases a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as SIRVA, a potentially debilitating shoulder injury related to vaccine administration, or Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder where the body’s immune system damages nerves.

When instances like these occur, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to those who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.

How the VICP Works

As the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) explains, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.

The Program was created in the 1980s, after lawsuits against vaccine companies and health care providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce U.S. vaccination rates, which could have caused a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.

Any individual, of any age, who received a covered vaccine and believes he or she was injured as a result, can file a petition. Parents, legal guardians, and legal representatives can file on behalf of children, disabled adults, and individuals who are deceased.

The Process for Filing a Petition

  1. An individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
  2. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation and makes a preliminary recommendation.
  3. The U.S. Department of Justice develops a report that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis and submits it to the Court.
  4. The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation.
  5. The Court orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation

If you accept an award of compensation from the VICP, that award may be comprised of several elements of damages including pain and suffering, past and future lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and future medical care.  Unlike traditional tort litigation, the Vaccine Program pays the cost of all attorneys’ fees.

If you reject the decision of the court (or withdraw your petition within certain timelines) you may file a claim in civil court against the vaccine company and/or the health care provider who administered the vaccine.

How Menzer Law Can Help

It’s important that you promptly see a doctor if you have symptoms of a shoulder injury, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or any other illness or injury following a vaccination. If you are diagnosed with a vaccine injury, Menzer Law can review your case in confidence and, if you qualify for the VICP, help ease the legal burden by managing all aspects of the claim process while fighting for your rights.

Free Initial Review

We start by thoroughly evaluating your situation so you can quickly know if you qualify for the VICP.

We’re Uniquely Qualified

Menzer Law founder Matt Menzer and I are two of only a handful of lawyers in Washington state and Hawaii qualified to represent individuals injured by vaccines in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where all VICP claims are decided.

Results-Focused Care

We pair our deep legal experience and expertise with individual quality care to achieve the best possible results for you. Menzer Law has more than 30 years of experience litigating complex injury cases and giving clients the attention they deserve and will provide you with knowledgeable, caring, and award-winning legal representation from start to finish.

No-Cost Legal Representation

Rest assured, you will not pay any legal fees when working with Menzer Law to pursue your VICP claim. The firm will advance all the costs of your VICP case, including any expert fees, and the VICP will then pay the costs of all attorney fees when your case is resolved.

Helpful Resources