With the recent injuries caused by the shingles vaccine Zostavax, more individuals are becoming aware of the risk of vaccine injuries. But if you are injured by a vaccine, what steps can you take? Who can you hold accountable for your injuries, your medical bills and the time you need to take off work?
Is your injury covered by VICP?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) provides compensation for individuals who are injured when receiving certain vaccines. VICP maintains a list of common injuries caused by vaccines, and if your vaccine and injury are covered, you can receive compensation through this government program.
One major benefit to you of going through this program is that your attorney's fees will be covered. Even if your claim is not successful, your attorney's fees may be paid for by the program.
Even after going through the VICP you can sue the vaccine manufacturer, such as when there exists evidence that a vaccine is contaminated or has an excess of vaccine adjuvants, such as aluminum, which is toxic. Although difficult and rare, it is possible to successfully sue the vaccine manufacturer if you can prove fraud. For example, if a claimant can show that a vaccine manufacturer misrepresented the content of a vaccine in the vaccine licensing process, there may be an action for fraud.
What if your injury isn't covered by VICP?
When a vaccine and injury isn't covered by VICP, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the vaccine.You will have to produce evidence that the vaccine was defectively designed or that the manufacturer failed to properly warn of a vaccine's harm, establish that you were injured and that the design defect of failure to warn caused your injury. With this type of case, however, there are usually no limites to damages for pain and suffering, which can lead to monetary awards greater than the VICP, where pain and suffering is capped at the amount of $250,000.
Regardless of the type of claim you have, an attorney can help you. If you work with an attorney who has experience with vaccine injury cases, you can get straightforward advice about the next steps in your case. Your attorney can evaluate your claim, give you advice about your options, and help you navigate the legal process, whether through VICP or the courts.