Nobody likes getting shots. No matter how skilled the person doing the injecting may be, they hurt – and some hurt a lot. The fear of going to the doctor and getting a shot is something that starts when we’re little and our parents take us for vaccinations, but we were given lollipops and stickers and told that the immunizations would keep us safe and let us grow big and strong. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
There’s no doubt that vaccinations save lives, and in the vast majority of cases they cause absolutely no harm beyond a twinge or a low-grade fever — maybe a rash. But there are many documented cases in which the most commonly-administered vaccines have caused real and long-lasting harm — enough so that the federal government established a compensation program in 1988 that was specifically designed to provide financial support and reimbursement for those who have been harmed.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program provides victims of vaccine injuries with a no-fault process for claiming benefits: it is a straightforward and stress-free alternative to pursuing legal action against vaccine companies and health care providers. The government introduced the program out of fear of a return of diseases that had previously been eradicated: if vaccine providers were forced to fight lawsuits, the legal costs could lead to them discontinuing vaccines and the publicity would discourage citizens from getting the immunizations that they needed.
The process of filing a claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program does not require representation by an attorney, but having a lawyer navigate the process is the best way to ensure that all the appropriate scientific and medical documentation is collected and prepared in a way that best advances your petition and proves that the symptoms and injury have been caused by a vaccine. An attorney will also ensure that all deadlines are met. For families struggling with the aftermath of a vaccine injury, taking care of paperwork is one less thing to worry about – and the program pays the legal fees for all claims that are approved.
Not every vaccine is covered by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and not every illness has been connected to having been immunized. The vaccines that are currently on the government’s compensation program list are:
- Hemophilus Influenzae Type B (hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Influenza (Flu Vaccine)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR, MR, M, R)
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Pneumococcal Conjugate
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
There are many adverse side effects that can arise from getting an immunization. The most common are mild and temporary, including low-grade fever, pain at injection site, rash and flu-like symptoms. Injuries that are more long-lasting include physical damage to the area of injection, including permanent swelling and tenderness, lumps or nodules, and injuries to the nerves. Some patients receiving injections suffer rotator cuff injuries or frozen shoulder. If six months go by and these symptoms have not resolved, you are likely to be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Other severe vaccine injuries and illnesses that are eligible for compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program include:
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis
- Brain Damage
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Diabetes Type 1
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Optic Neuritis
- Transverse Myelitis
If you or your child have suffered an injury or been diagnose with an illness that was caused by a vaccine, it is essential that you begin the process of filing a claim with the Vaccine Injury
Compensation Program as soon as possible. Doing so can provide you with compensation for the medical expenses you’ve already incurred, as well as the related medical bills you may incur in the future. You can also get up to $250,000 in compensation for pain and suffering you’ve suffered and can anticipate suffering, any lost wages, and more, but in order to be eligible all claims must be filed within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims within three years from the first appearance of symptoms, or two years from the date of a vaccine-related death.
At Shebell & Shebell, we believe that families that have suffered due to vaccine injuries have already paid too much in aggravation and pain, so we pay all the upfront costs of representing your case. You pay no fees – we will seek reimbursement for our costs from the government after we’ve won your case for you. Our goal is to make sure that you are well served by a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and learn more about your rights.