### Hiring a Licensed Vaccine Injury Attorney Is Critical to the Success of Your Case
In order to handle cases in the VICP, an attorney must be admitted to the United States Court of Federal Claims and they must possess the vast knowledge and intricacies of the VICP, the law, the medicine and science. Not every personal injury attorney has this specialized knowledge. In fact, there are very few vaccine attorneys nationwide.
At Green & Schafle LLC, our partner, David J. Carney, Esquire, has been handling vaccine cases in the VICP since 2010 and is currently the Vice President of the Vaccine Bar Association, the national organization dedicated to representing those injured by vaccines.
### There is No Monetary Incentive to File a Vaccine Injury Claim on Your Own
While individuals can file vaccine injury cases on their own behalf (pro se), it is not recommended for many reasons. First, all attorneys’ fees and costs are paid separate and apart from any settlement you receive, so there is no monetary incentive to not retain a licensed vaccine attorney. At the conclusion of your case, your vaccine attorney will file an Application for Attorneys Fees and Costs with the Court in order to be paid for his legal services. Second, filing a case on your own could get you subjected to different tactics from the DOJ that would either lead your claim to be dismissed or limited in value during settlement discussions.
### Navigating the VICP Process Requires Specialized Knowledge and Skill
Filing your own case may seem tempting, but navigating the VICP, the Court, the DOJ attorneys and the nuanced legal and medical issues is very daunting. It is expensive to prosecute a case in the VICP from the filing fees, obtaining medical records, and securing medical expert reports. At Green & Schafle LLC, we front and cover all of these expenses on your behalf and then we are reimbursed by the Court at the end of the case. We routinely handle all of these tasks and costs so that you can focus on your health and treatment.
### What to Expect After a Vaccine Injury Case Is Filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims?
After we file your case, there is a period of time where the Court will review your medical records and the legal documents we filed to ensure all documents are filed appropriately, and then the Department of Health and Human Services will take a lengthy period of time to review your medical records and file to determine its position on your claim. From there, there are several scenarios that will likely occur:
- **Concession:** In a concession, HHS will review the medical records, scientific literature, and other documents and then ultimately determine that the petitioner is entitled to compensation, because the evidence meets the criteria of the vaccine injury table or because it is more likely than not that the vaccine caused the injury. Concessions are rare but they can occur in limited circumstances, especially if your injury is listed on the vaccine injury table and occurred within the time frame specified by the table.
- **Negotiated Settlement:** In a negotiated settlement, the petitioner’s claim is resolved by way of a settlement with HHS at some point prior to the Entitlement Hearing. This can occur after your case is filed and reviewed by HHS, or after expert reports are filed, or any time thereafter. Anywhere from 70-80% of cases resolve by way of negotiated settlement.
- **Motions Practice to Obtain a Decision:** Often times, a hearing is not necessary and there is a dispute about the content of the medical records. Motions can be filed with the Court to obtain court rulings that would bring the parties closer to resolving the case.
- **Entitlement Hearing:** If HHS does not concede that a petitioner should be compensated or if both parties do not agree to settle, the special master will hold an Entitlement Hearing. An Entitlement Hearing is the trial where the petitioner and all experts will testify on the issue of whether the vaccine caused the injury. This is a bench trial held before the assigned special master who makes rulings on the facts and the law. There is no jury. If the special master determines that Petitioner is entitled to compensation, then the parties will discuss compensation outside of the hearing. If the special master denies compensation, then either the case is over, or the Petitioner may appeal the special master’s decision to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
### A Licensed Vaccine Injury Attorney Can Review Your Case for Free
If you or a loved one believe you have suffered an injury from a vaccine, please request a callback and David Carney and his vaccine injury team will contact you directly to personally discuss your case with you free of charge.
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