What Is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
What Is the VICP?
On October 1, 1988, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to 300aa-34) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP was established to guarantee that a sufficient number of vaccines were manufactured for the public, to stabilize vaccine manufacturing expenses, and most importantly, to provide an efficient forum for those who have suffered adverse effects from vaccines to obtain meaningful compensation. The VICP is a “no-fault” compensation program, which means that individuals only need to prove that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. No proof of a defective product is required.
Who Is Involved in the VICP?
Petitioner: This is the injured party.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): This is the entity that defends all vaccine-related claims and in the VICP, is more commonly called, the “Respondent”. This department is responsible for reviewing cases and issuing payment of claims.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): The DOJ acts as the lawyers for HHS.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims: This is the Court where all cases are filed and it is located in Washington, D.C. The Court is composed of eight (8) special masters, who collectively form the Office of Special Masters or OSM, that are appointed by the judges on the United States Court of Federal Claims. One of the special masters serves as the “chief special master” of the VICP. The special master assigned to the case is responsible for determining both the facts and law of the case. There is no jury trial associated with these cases.
Who Funds the Program?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is funded by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund and it compensates all vaccine-related injuries or deaths for covered vaccines administered after October 1, 1988. The Trust Fund is funded by a $0.75 excise tax on all vaccines that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children.
The excise tax imposed is based on the number of diseases that the vaccine is designed to inoculate against. For example, the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which is manufactured and administered to inoculate against all three diseases, is taxed at $2.25 per vaccine. Each influenza vaccine is taxed at $0.75 per dose. This tax is collected by the Department of the Treasury, which also manages the Trust Fund’s investments of the excise tax. Currently, the vaccine fund totals approximately $3.8 billion, and growing.
Which Vaccines Are Covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
The Vaccine Injury Table lists all of the vaccines that are covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). If a vaccine is not contained on the Vaccine Injury Table, then an injury that is allegedly caused by the vaccine is ineligible for compensation in the VICP. Vaccines that are listed on the Vaccine Injury Table are: tetanus toxoid vaccines (DTaP, DTP, DT, Td, or TT), pertussis vaccines (DTP, DTaP, P, DTP-Hib), measles, mumps and rubella vaccines (MMR or any variants), polio virus vaccine, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), Varicella, rotavirus, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, seasonal influenza, meningococcal vaccines, and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.
Is the Shingles Vaccine Covered in the VICP?
No. The shingles vaccine is not covered by the VICP. The varicella (chicken pox) vaccine is covered though. Individuals who claim the shingles vaccine is the cause of their injury would have to file a civil suit outside of the VICP.
Are All Pneumonia Vaccines Covered in the VICP?
No. Only pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are covered in the VICP: Prevnar 7 (PCV7), Prevnar 13 (PCV13), and Synflorix (PCV10). The most commonly given pneumonia vaccine, Pneumovax-23, is not covered by the VICP. Individuals who claim the Pneumovax-23 vaccine is the cause of their injury would have to file a civil suit outside of the VICP.
What Types of Compensation Are Available in the Vaccine Program?
Pain and Suffering:
Physical pain and suffering is the pain of the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. It includes not just the pain and discomfort that the claimant has endured to date, but also the detrimental effects that he or she is likely suffer in the future as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
Mental pain and suffering results from the claimant’s being physically injured, but it is more a by-product of those bodily injuries. Mental pain and suffering includes things like mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety, and shock. Mental pain and suffering is basically any kind of negative emotion that an accident victim suffers as a result of having to endure the physical pain and trauma of the accident.
In the Vaccine Courts, the value of one’s pain and suffering is capped at $250,000.00. Therefore, the amount awarded for one’s pain and suffering is dependent upon the injury’s severity, duration and type of treatment, prognosis, and level of permanency.
A lost wages analysis includes analyzing how much time the injured individual lost from work for which he/she was not compensated by worker’s compensation or various disability plans. In order to legitimately make a claim for lost wages, it is imperative to evaluate the individuals tax returns to analyze if there was a loss of wages as a result of the alleged vaccine-injury. If the vaccine-injury will reasonably prevent the individual from earning similar wages in the future, then a claim for future lost wages can be made.
All medical expenses, not covered by health insurance, related to the vaccine-injury are reimbursable. This includes co-pays, hospital deductibles, prescription co-pays, hospital bills, etc. Having documentation of your receipts or Explanation of Benefits from your health insurance carrier is critical.
Future Medical Treatment:
In certain circumstances, an individual’s legal case will resolve before the injury has resolved. The individual will require future medical assistance in terms of surgery, additional treatments, or advanced medical or home care. In these situations, provided that they are supported by a medical or nursing expert, a claim for future medical treatment or accommodations can be claimed.
Licensed Vaccine Attorney
If you or a loved one believe you have suffered an injury from a vaccine, please fill out our online vaccine case inquiry and David Carney and his vaccine team will contact you directly to personally discuss your case with you free of charge.