Vaccine Court Releases 2018 Statistics

On October 5, 2018, Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”) released a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“VICP”) Data report, detailing the number of claims filed, a summary of awards paid, and categorical synopses of adjudications based on vaccine type. This data brings awareness to the VICP and uncovers the potential for vaccine injury compensation.

With any medical treatment or device, the risk of side effects and unexpected reactions weigh heavily against any possible benefit. The same is true for vaccines, despite the fact that the United States has the safest and most effective vaccine supply in history. These potential side effects and reactions range from mild to severe and may lead to immense suffering. Occurrence of these adverse reactions is rare but significant, with over 1,200 reports of alleged injury in 2017 alone.

In these instances, the potential for recourse is available. The VICP allows injured parties to file claims for compensation, even if the vaccine in question cannot be determined as the cause of the alleged injury.  In fact, almost 75 percent of all compensation is awarded by the VICP without the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) concluding that a causal relationship exists between the vaccine and the injury.

Since 1988, almost 20,000 claims have been filed with the VICP, and total compensation paid over that time period is approximately $3.9 billion. Influenza, Measles Mumps and Rubella, and TDaP/DTaP vaccines are responsible for the most claims citing adverse reactions, and though some trends such as this one can be seen through reports of adverse event, the VICP is largely unpredictable. For instance, in 2014, 1,214 petitions were filed with the VICP. However, in 2011, that number dropped to 386.

Even more variable is the adjudication process for each claim filed with the VICP.  The United States Court of Federal Claims (“CFC”) is responsible for resolving claims and generally, claims are not resolved in the same fiscal year they are filed. On average, it takes two to three years after a petition is filed for a decision to be reached. Should an injured party’s claims be deemed eligible for compensation, payouts to the client can be achieved one of three ways: (1) concession; (2) court decision; or (3) settlement.

A concession occurs when HHS determines either that it is more likely than not that the vaccine caused the injury or that the evidence supports fulfillment of the criteria of the Vaccine Injury Table, thus entitling the claimant to compensation. A court decision involves either a special master or the Court issuing a decision as to the case's potential to be compensated, based on either legally sufficient evidence or Vaccine Injury Table requirements. Finally, a settlement occurs between the parties in an effort to resolve cases quickly and cost efficiently and does not involve a decision by the HHS or Court. Settlements are based upon a review of evidence including medical records and relevant medical literature

Of all petitions filed, many are deemed ineligible for compensation. For instance, since the program’s inception, all but seven DTP-HIB vaccine (a combination vaccine whose generic name is diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and whole-cell pertussis vaccine adsorbed with Hib conjugate vaccine)  injury claims were dismissed as non-compensable, and all but eight IPV (Polio) vaccine injury claims also fell short of compensation requirements.

Unlike a personal injury claim, an injured party’s attorney does not receive a contingent fee, or percentage of the potential settlement. Rather, attorneys are paid by the VICP directly. By law, attorneys are not permitted to charge any other fee, including a contingency fee, for his or her services in representing a claimant in the VICP. This limits the risk involved for anyone alleging a vaccine injury.

At My Vaccine Lawyer, we litigate each case from start to finish. This includes a free case evaluation and an in-depth analysis of the facts and medical theory for each case. Our founding partners Max Muller and Paul Brazil have been featured on NBC and CBS News for their successes in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. If you or a loved one has been injured by a vaccine, call us today at (800) 229 - 7704.