I have received several calls from potential clients whose children have suffered from adverse reactions to vaccines. Sadly, I have had to inform these parents that they missed the statute of limitations and are unable to sue.
The statute of limitations pertains to the number of years a potential claimant has to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for state cases varies from state to state and is different for each cause of action (type of case).
However, since the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is Federally run, the statute of limitations is the same for all parties, from all states, seeking compensation within the program. That statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of first onset of symptoms and two (2) years from the date of death. A claimant who is filing outside (or past) that statute, is barred from recovery and will not have a valid claim.
The first onset of symptoms is sometimes tricky. In some cases, it is not always clear when the symptoms first began. Evidence of that date is necessary to be eligible to bring a case in Vaccine Court.
Some people with whom I have spoken have asked if they can still sue in Vaccine Court if their child is under 18 years of age. The answer to that question is that the statute of limitations is still three years from the date of first onset, period. The program does not toll (stop the clock) the statute of limitations for minors, like most civil courts do.
Therefore, if you believe that your child, or an adult, has been injured by a vaccine, it is imperative that you call a vaccine injury attorney as soon as possible. If you are outside the statute of limitations, currently, there is no way to get compensation in Vaccine Court.
There are cases where the injury is a result of medical malpractice. For example, sometimes the administration of the vaccine, such as the way in which the needle was inserted, can cause harm. Sometimes, in those cases, an injured person can bring a medical malpractice claim. Therefore, it is always worth calling a vaccine injury attorney to discuss your situation. The vaccine injury attorney can refer you to the appropriate medical malpractice lawyer if it is warranted in your case.
If you have any questions regarding vaccines, do not hesitate to call a lawyer who is admitted in the United States Court of Federal Claims and handles vaccine injury cases. Time is definitely of the essence.