As of the present time, reported serious side effects and adverse reactions from the COVID-19 vaccine have been very few and the vaccine is considered safe for most people of the appropriate age. However, because it is anticipated that so many people throughout the United States will receive the COVID-19 vaccine over the next six months, the number of people who suffer serious side effects or adverse reactions from the vaccine may be higher than with other vaccines. What happens if you suffer serious side effects or adverse reactions from the COVIOD-19 vaccine? Can you (or will you) be compensated for the harm you suffer from the vaccine?
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury claims. It was created in the 1980s, after lawsuits against vaccine companies and health care providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce vaccination rates in the United States, which could have caused a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine. Even in cases in which such a finding is not made, petitioners may receive compensation through a settlement.
Approximately 70% of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury. Attorneys are eligible for reasonable attorneys’ fees, whether or not the petitioner is awarded compensation by the Court, if certain minimal requirements are met. In those circumstances, attorneys are paid by the VICP directly. By statute, attorneys may not charge any other fee, including a contingency fee, for his or her services in representing a petitioner in the VICP.
Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program
COVID-19 vaccines are covered countermeasures under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), not the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) authorizes the CICP to provide benefits to certain individuals or estates of individuals who sustain a covered serious physical injury as the direct result of the administration or use of covered countermeasures identified in and administered or used under a PREP Act declaration. The CICP also may provide benefits to certain survivors of individuals who die as a direct result of the administration or use of such covered countermeasures.
The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program was established in 2005 to deal with vaccines under emergency authorization. Drug manufacturers may be sued only for willful misconduct. There are only four employees and decisions are made in secret by government officials. There is no appeal to a court. Most death claims are capped at $370,376. The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program reportedly has paid fewer than 1 in 10 claims in its history.
The vast majority of the claims made to the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program have involved the H1N1 swine flu vaccine from ten years ago. Only 29 out of 499 claimants received money from the Program.
Unlike the “Vaccine Court” (i.e., the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) that allows claims to be made within three years, provides compensation to lawyers and experts, awards compensation for pain and suffering, and provides for appeals to court, most claims to the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program must be filed within a year of getting a vaccine, regardless of when side effects develop; awards under the Program do not include noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering; and, the Program does not pay attorney fees or expert witness fees.
The Vaccine Court has historically provided payments in 7 of 10 cases, and the average payment is $570,000, with a total payout of $4.4 billion during its history. In contrast, the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program has paid an average of $200,000 per claim with a total Program payout of just $6 million in 29 cases during its 15-year history.
If you or a loved one may have been injured by the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, you should promptly contact a COVID-19 vaccine lawyer who may investigate your COVID-19 medical malpractice claim for you and represent you and/or your loved one in a COVID-19 vaccine case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find COVID-19 attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
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