ABOUT THE NATIONAL VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a federal Vaccine Injury Fund that provides cash awards to individuals injured by vaccines.
These claims for cash compensation are filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. The case is heard by a “special master” who is like a judge. An attorney from the Department of Justice defends the case on behalf of the government. If the special master finds the injuries were caused by the vaccination, cash compensation is awarded for the injured person’s past and future medical needs, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
The process begins with a petition to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Next, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if the injured person’s vaccine-related injuries and symptoms meet the medical criteria for compensation, and makes a preliminary recommendation to the special master.
Then, the Department of Justice attorney develops a report that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis and submits it to the special master.
The special master then decides whether the vaccine-injured petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a court hearing in which both parties can present evidence.
If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation.
Even if the special master does not grant the petition for compensation, the special master can order the government to pay our attorneys’ fees and costs so long as certain minimum requirements are met. Of course, you are not responsible for any of our fees or costs.
WHO CAN FILE A CLAIM?
Who can file a claim for cash compensation from the Vaccine Injury Fund? You may file a claim if:
you received a vaccine covered by the Vaccine Injury Fund and believe that you have been injured by this vaccine; or
if you are a parent or guardian of a child or disabled adult who received a vaccine covered by the Vaccine Injury Fund and believe that the person was injured by this vaccine; or
are the legal representative of the estate of a deceased person who received a covered vaccine and who you believe was injured by the vaccine and/or whose death you believe resulted from that vaccination.
WHAT ABOUT LEGAL FEES?
Our lawyers’ fees and costs are paid by the Vaccine Injury Fund—not by you. This means that you don’t have to pay your lawyer with your own money and our lawyer’s fees and costs do not come out of the cash compensation you receive for your vaccine injury. Lawyer’s fees are paid out of the Vaccine Injury Fund whether you win or lose, as long as the case was filed “in good faith and with a reasonable basis.”