Do I have to File my Vaccine Injury Case Locally?
If you feel that you have been injured by a vaccine, you may wonder how you can be compensated by your injury. Decades ago, you would have sued the vaccine manufacturer or the individual and/or organization who administered your vaccine. In most cases, you would have sued in a court local to where you were injured.
VACCINE INJURY VICTIMS USED TO BE COMPENSATED BY SUING IN LOCAL COURTS
In the 1970s, a growing number of lawsuits were successful against manufacturers of several vaccines, particularly for pertussis immunization-containing "DPT" vaccines. Though actual vaccine injuries were (and are) rare, the lawsuits became prohibitively expensive, even if the manufacturers successfully defended the suits.
As a consequence, by 1984, all vaccine manufacturers but one stopped making a DPT vaccine. The last remaining manufacturer was also threatening to stop manufacturing a DPT vaccine as well. That would have led to the disappearance from the United States of a vaccine that had saved millions of lives.
So, in 1986, Congress stepped in and created a law that would make it easier to identify and track vaccine injuries nationally. This law also led to the creation of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (or VICP) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
NOW, VICTIMS MUST BRING THEIR CLAIM IN A SPECIFIC FEDERAL COURT IN WASHINGTON, DC
Since the VICP was created, anyone who believes they were injured by a vaccine (or the administration of that vaccine) must file a claim in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims with the Office of Special Masters, often called the "Vaccine Court." This court handles all injuries from a list of vaccines covered by the VICP.
See the covered vaccines here: https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/covered-vaccines/index.html
In order to have a lawyer assist you with your vaccine injury claim, that lawyer must be admitted to the Court of Federal Claims (the vaccine court). While you may use a local attorney to bring your vaccine injury claim, you in no way required to do so. More importantly, not all lawyers are admitted to practice at the vaccine court, so you must make sure whoever you retain is properly admitted.
There are a number of requirements that are specific to the VICP, as well, so you should find an attorney who is experienced with the program. Rawls Law Group has years of experience in the VICP, so if you believe you have been injured by a vaccine, we may be able to help.
Rawls Law Group is a nationwide vaccine injury law firm in Richmond, Virginia, proudly serving clients in all 50 states. The United States Court of Federal Claims is close to our firm in proximity and we travel to our vaccine injury clients all over the nation.