Vaccine Injury Law Project | IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

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Illinois Lawyers for National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Washington vaccine lawsuit lawyer

Vaccine Injury Compensation Attorneys Serving Chicago and Throughout the United States

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) is a federal compensation program for people injured by vaccines. The NVICP was established by Congress through the Vaccine Act, and all actions under the act take place in the Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C . To initiate a claim, an injured party files a Petition for Compensation in which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the respondent and is represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice. The cases are heard by Special Masters at the Court who function similarly to trial judges, as triers of fact and law. Although the Court is located in Washington, D.C., most proceedings take place telephonically, or if an in-person hearing is required, it often takes place in the client’s location. Most clients never need to travel to Washington.

The Vaccine Act established a “no-fault” system. This means that to be compensated, a petitioner does not need to allege that any person or entity involved did anything wrong to cause their injury. The Petitioner must show that he or she received a vaccine covered by the Act, and that the vaccine caused their injury or illness. Some injuries are so well understood that they are listed on the “Vaccine Table” in association with certain vaccines. If a petitioner has suffered a “table injury” then he or she need only prove that they received the covered vaccine within the time-period established on the table and suffered the described injury. In other cases that are not listed on the Vaccine Injury Table, the Petitioner must prove that he or she received the covered vaccine and that it is more likely than not that the vaccine caused their injury or illness. These “non-table” cases can involve complex issues of immunology, neurology, rheumatology, and other diverse specialties. They often require an understanding of cytokines, T cells, and other actions in the body that take place at a molecular level.

A Petition in the Vaccine Court is a federal lawsuit. It is particularly important to be represented by an attorney who has experience in managing the specific rules and requirements imposed by the Vaccine Act, as well as a deep knowledge of the science often required to prove that a vaccine caused a petitioner’s injury or illness. Ed Kraus and the lawyers at the Vaccine Injury Law Project have successfully litigated many complex claims over the past 15 years that have resulted in many millions of dollars of compensation for pain and suffering, out of pocket medical costs, lost wages as well as comprehensive life care plans, annuities, medical equipment, and other types of compensation that help to restore petitioners as close as possible to the lives and function they had prior to their injury.

Who May File a Claim for Compensation

The Vaccine Act imposes several statutory requirements that must be met before an individual is eligible to file a petition for compensation.

  • The injured person must have received a vaccine that is covered under the act. A parent or legal guardian can file on behalf of a minor child or disabled adult, and a legal representative of an estate can file on behalf of a deceased person.
  • The covered vaccine must be administered in the United States; be administered to a US citizen or a dependent serving abroad in the armed forces or as an employee of the US government; or the vaccine manufacturer was located in the United States and the person who received the vaccine abroad returned to the United States within six months after receiving the vaccine.
  • The injury or its effects must last for more than six months after the date of the vaccination; result in inpatient hospitalization and surgical intervention; or result in death.
  • It is extremely important to note that the Vaccine Act imposes strictly applied filing deadlines. A petition must be received by the Court within 3 years after the first symptom or manifestation of onset of the injury or the significant aggravation of an existing condition. If the vaccine causes an injury that leads to death, a petition must be filed within two years of the death and within four years of the first symptom or manifestation of onset of the injury from which the death resulted.

Vaccines Covered Under the Vaccine Act

Not all vaccines administered are covered by the Vaccine Act. Initially, the Act was intended to compensate children injured by vaccines. Because of this, the Act specifies that all vaccines routinely administered to children are automatically covered by the act. Over time, as it became clear that many adults also suffered from vaccine injuries, HHS and congress were able to add vaccines to the Vaccine Table by administrative rule making or congressional action. An example of how this works is playing out now with the Covid-19 vaccine. Although a mass vaccination effort is underway, the Covid-19 vaccine is not routinely recommended or administered to children, so injuries caused by this vaccine are not currently covered by the Vaccine Act and injured parties cannot petition for compensation under the NVICP. If the vaccine does become routinely recommended for children, or if HHS or congress takes affirmative action to include the Covid-19 vaccine in the program, then injured parties will be able to seek compensation under the Act.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program currently provides compensation for injuries caused by the following vaccines:

Actionable Injuries under the Act

Although shoulder injuries (SIRVA) and Guillain-Barre syndrome following the flu shot are well known injuries included on the Vaccine Table, it is important to remember that while the vaccine that caused the injury must be included on the Vaccine Table, the type of injury itself does not. Many of the vaccine injury cases that we handle involve injuries not included on the table including among numerous others, ADEM, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, narcolepsy, vaccine site abscess, CIDP, seizure disorders, and small fiber neuropathy.

Ed Kraus and the attorneys at the Vaccine Injury Law Project understand that the scientific understanding of how vaccines can cause injuries in susceptible individuals is constantly evolving. We work with some of the world’s leading medical experts to bring difficult and novel cases and have helped to push forward the Court’s understanding of causation.

Types of Compensation Available to Prevailing Petitioners

Vaccine Court cases take place in two distinct phases. The first is the “causation phase” in which we will prove to the Court that your injury was caused by a vaccination. Once the Court rules that the vaccine caused the injury, the case moves to the “damages phase.” In the damages phase, an attorney from the Vaccine Injury Law Project will work closely with you to create a comprehensive settlement demand for damages. The damages can include:

  • A death benefit of $250,000 if the vaccine injury caused a death.
  • An amount for past and future pain and suffering (this amount is capped at $250,000)
  • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical costs (this can include future medical costs)
  • Compensation for lost wages for time you could not work due to your illness or injury.

As required by individual circumstances of each case, the lawyers at the Vaccine Injury Law Project work closely with experts including doctors, economists, vocational experts, and life care planners to provide support for the highest possible awards for our clients.

Who Pays the Costs of a Case in the VICP

A vaccine injury case in the VICP is intended to be “no cost” to an injured petitioner. Any compensation awarded to a petitioner goes 100% to the petitioner and is not taxable. You will never receive a bill from our office, nor will you pay a percentage of your award to us.

Our office will advance all the costs of litigation including filing fees, medical records gathering, and expert fees. At the conclusion of your case, we will file a petition with the Court to have the government pay our reasonable attorneys fees and costs.

To learn More About How Our Office Might be Able to Help You Get Compensated For Your Injury

Contact the Vaccine Injury Law Project at Chicago Kent College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. You can call us at 312-906-5072, or contact us online. When you contact our office, you will not be screened by a paralegal. You will speak directly to an attorney who will help assess your situation. We represent clients from Chicago, Illinois, and across the nation.

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