Vaccine Injury Fund: Lessons from a Lawyer-Claims in Vaccine Court
March 7, 2017
In speaking with many people around the country, it is apparent that most people, including lawyers and doctors, are unfamiliar with and often unaware of the VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM (VICP).
The following several posts on my website are part of a series whereby I will be providing information pertaining to the existence and running of the Vaccine Court as well as the Vaccines and Injuries as the source of the court filings.
This post specifically deals with Vaccine Injury Claims/Petitions. Vaccine Injury claims are real. They are filed as Petitions in the Vaccine Court (which is technically the U.S. Court of Federal Claims). Petitioners may file as long as there is good faith and a reasonable basis to believe that an injury occurred as a result of receiving a vaccine(s).
The entity against which a Petitioner files is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That Department has attorneys who defend these cases against it. Those attorneys are employed by the Department of Justice in Washington D.C.
Once the Petition is filed, it is assigned to a Special Master, who is like a Judge, but who handles only vaccine injury claims. Thus, there is a lawyer (The Department of Justice attorney) and the Special Master, who hears both sides of the claims.
Thousands of claims are filed each year. Some settle and Petitioners are compensated for their injuries. Other cases are dismissed and the Petitioner gets nothing, and the rest of the cases go to Hearing (like a Trial). However, there is no jury. Only the Special Master decides the outcome of the case.
The Vaccine Court has had an increase of claims every year, with last year being the most claims ever filed. It began approximately 30 years ago as a childhood injury venue, but now includes claims for adults and children. With the mandate of vaccines such as the flu vaccine for school and healthcare employees, there has been a rise in adult claims. Last year, the flu shot was the number one vaccine for which people were compensated.
Many doctors and healthcare professionals are unaware of the Vaccine Court and of vaccine injuries in general. The ignorance of the medical community regarding vaccine injuries can be devastating. For example, people who receive a vaccine and have an injury such as SIRVA (Shoulder Injury as a Result of Vaccine Administration) may return to their doctor with arm pain after receiving a vaccine. If the doctor is unaware (or in denial) of the potential for a vaccine to cause a shoulder injury, then that doctor can unintentionally send the patient down the wrong treatment path. What could require injections and possible physical therapy, could turn into an entirely different treatment plan that does not help the patient, or could even make the patient worse.
Likewise, the patient may not get the advice to seek an attorney or file a Petition in order to preserve a vaccine injury claim (all claims of living people must be filed 3 years from the date of the first onset of symptoms, or be forever barred from filing). Thus, doctors’ ignorance could lead to worsening symptoms and the inability to ever be compensated for a severe injury.
It seems that the health field does not want to discuss or admit that vaccines can and do cause harm sometimes. Maybe this is due to a fear of being sued. However, that fear is baseless, since the vaccine court shields all healthcare professionals from liability regarding the vaccines covered in the program. This includes doctors, nurses, administrators, hospitals, urgent care centers, pharmacies, etc.
I find it sad when potential clients call me and have missed the time frame within which to file because their doctor continued to tell them that there is no way the vaccine can cause the pain or injury described. Those doctors are uninformed and/or irrationally paranoid about getting sued. Either way, the patient suffers.
If you or a loved one feels they have been injured as a result of receiving a vaccine, there is help. There is a court designed to handle all vaccine injury claims, and there are lawyers, like myself, who are admitted to practice in the court and who represent those injured by a vaccine. It is real and you never pay attorneys fees.
Feel free to call Widman Law Firm, LLC, Vaccine Injury Attorney, at 732.829.3416 for a free consultation.
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