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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

How Do You Obtain a Settlement Under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)?

When you file a vaccine injury claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), your claim has three potential outcomes: (i) the Vaccine Court can award you compensation, (ii) the Vaccine Court can deny your claim, or (iii) you can enter into a settlement with the government.

Settling a VICP Claim is the Best Option in Many Cases

For many claimants, entering into a settlement is the best option. There are a couple of reasons why. First, settling your VICP claim provides certainty. Regardless of how strong your claim may be, there is no guarantee that the Vaccine Court will rule in your favor. While the Vaccine Court should rule in your favor if you establish your right to compensation, taking your claim to court inherently involves an element of uncertainty.

Second, settling your VICP claim is generally the quickest path to a resolution. If you don’t settle your claim, you will need to present your case at a hearing before the Vaccine Court. You will need to wait for your hearing to be scheduled, and once your hearing is over, you will need to wait for the Vaccine Court’s decision. When you enter into a settlement, your lawyer can submit your settlement to the Vaccine Court for approval, and, in most cases, a special master will approve the settlement in a matter of days.

Maximizing Your Chances of Securing a Favorable VICP Settlement

So, how do you obtain a settlement under the VICP?

To be clear, just as there is no guarantee that the Vaccine Court will rule in your favor, there is no guarantee that the government will agree to a desirable settlement. When you file a VICP claim, your claim is reviewed by government attorneys who represent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These attorneys are tasked with ensuring that the HHS does not compensate invalid or unsupported claims. As a result, in order to obtain a desirable settlement, you must be able to clearly establish your right to compensation under the VICP.

With this in mind, to maximize your chances of securing a favorable VICP settlement, you will need to focus your efforts (or your lawyer will need to focus his or her efforts) on two key areas:

  • Establishing your eligibility for compensation under the VICP; and,

  • Proving how much you deserve to recover for your vaccine injury.

1. Establishing Your Eligibility for Compensation Under the VICP

There are clear rules about who is eligible to receive financial compensation under the VICP. While most CDC-recommended vaccines are covered, there are exceptions, and claimants must meet certain other eligibility criteria as well.

Ultimately, the key to maximizing your chances of securing a favorable settlement under the VICP is being able to thoroughly document your claim. When it comes to establishing your eligibility, this means being able to submit the following:

  • Documentation of Your Eligible Vaccination – To obtain a settlement under the VICP, you will need proof of your vaccination. More specifically, you will need proof of your eligible vaccination. The VICP only provides compensation for “covered vaccines.” If you got vaccinated at your doctor’s office, your medical records should be able to serve as adequate documentation. If you got vaccinated at a pharmacy, clinic, or other facility, you should try to locate your receipt or any other documentation you may have received.

  • Documentation of Your Vaccine Injury – You will also need documentation of your vaccine injury in order to obtain a settlement under the VICP. This documentation will typically be in the form of your medical records from your diagnostic visit. If you have not yet sought treatment for your vaccine injury, you will need to do so before you can file a VICP claim.

  • Documentation of Timing – The documentation you submit in support of your VICP claim will also need to provide evidence of the timing of your vaccination and diagnosis. For many of the most common types of vaccine injuries (including GBS and SIRVA), the timing of your symptoms in relation to your vaccination will be a key factor in your claim. You must be able to demonstrate that you have filed your claim within the VICP’s statute of limitations as well, which is three years from the first onset of symptoms for non-fatal vaccine injuries.

2. Proving How Much You Deserve to Recover for Your Vaccine Injury

Along with documentation of your eligibility, improving your chances of securing a favorable VICP settlement also requires documentation of your injury-related losses. The VICP divides claimants’ losses into four categories: (i) medical bills, (ii) other out-of-pocket expenses, (iii) lost earnings, and (iv) pain and suffering. If you can clearly establish your eligibility and you have comprehensive documentation of your losses, you will give yourself the best possible chance of settling for just compensation.

What documentation do you need to prove your losses? While individual circumstances vary, in most cases, proving the financial and non-financial costs of a vaccine injury involves submitting documentation such as:

  • Receipts for prescriptions, medical supplies, transportation and other out-of-pocket costs

  • Medical bills for diagnosis and treatment

  • Medical records indicating your ongoing treatment and prescription needs

  • Employment and tax records documenting your income history

  • Employment records documenting the hours or days you have missed from work

  • A daily log of your pain levels and restrictions

  • Documentation of your medical visits, events and activities you have missed due to your vaccine injury, and all of the other ways your vaccine injury has impacted your life

In general, the more documentation you have, the better. When you hire a lawyer to handle your VICP claim (which you can do at no cost), your lawyer can review your documentation and determine which records will be most effective for helping you secure a favorable settlement.

Discuss Your VICP Claim with Attorney Leah V. Durant

If you have been diagnosed with a vaccine injury and would like to know more about seeking a settlement under the VICP, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a free initial consultation with attorney Leah V. Durant, please call 202-800-1711 or request an appointment online today.

 

Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.


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