References

What are the Injuries That are Covered in Vaccine Court?

For the Vaccine Injury Table which lists the injuries published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, click here. However, not all of the injuries are listed on the Vaccine Table. This section describes those listed on the Table and some of the “off-Table” injuries/conditions that arise as a result of receiving particular Vaccines.

  • Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock
  • Brachial Neuritis/Brachial Neuropathy/ Parsonage Turner
  • Syndrome
  • Encephalopathy (or encephalitis)
  • Chronic arthritis
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Vaccine-Strain Measles Viral Infection in an immunodeficient
  • recipient
  • Paralytic Polio
  • Vaccine-Strain Polio Viral Infection
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (“GBS”)
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Brain Damage
  • Pain and stiffness of the joints
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Appendicitis
  • Deafness
  • Shoulder injuries; such as, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, tendinitis and rotator cuff tear
  • Pneumonia
  • Stroke
  • Venous thromboembolism (“VTE”) Death
  • Intussusception (bowel blockage that sometimes necessitates surgery)
  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (“ADEM”)
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (“CIDP”)/GBS
What Types of Vaccines are Covered in Vaccine Court?

If you are unaware of which vaccines you or your child received, you can call your doctor’s office and request your, or your child’s, complete medical records at any time. It is your right to obtain your medical records for any reason or simply for your personal file.

The following list of covered vaccines is published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The vaccines listed below are taken from the Vaccine Table that can be obtained from their website. Keep in mind that other requirements must be met in order to collect from the Vaccine Injury Fund. Having received one of the listed vaccines is one element in proving your case.

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines (such as Gardasil® and Cervarix®, which caused more than 60 deaths since 2006)
  • Vaccines containing tetanus toxoid (e.g., DTaP, DTP, DT, Td, or TT)
  • Vaccines containing whole cell pertussis bacteria, extracted or partial cell pertussis bacteria, or specific pertussis antigen(s) (e.g., DTP, DTaP, P, DTP-Hib)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine or any of its components (e.g., MMR, MR, M, R)
  • Vaccines containing rubella virus (e.g., MMR, MR, R)
  • Vaccines containing measles virus (e.g., MMR, MR, M)
  • Vaccines containing polio live virus (OPV)
  • Vaccines containing polio inactivated virus (e.g., IPV)
  • Hepatitis B. vaccines
  • Hemophilus influenzae type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines
  • Varicella vaccine
  • Rotavirus vaccine
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
  • Hepatitis A vaccines
  • Trivalent influenza vaccines
  • Meningococcal vaccines

Any new vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for routine administration to children, after publication by the Secretary of a notice of coverage. (Now includes all vaccines against seasonal influenza (except trivalent influenza vaccines, which are already covered), effective November 12, 2013)

The Vaccine Injury Table Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

**Note that there are some injuries or conditions that are not specifically listed on the Vaccine Injury Table (“off-Table” injuries). Some off-Table injuries or conditions are still considered valid injuries for a claim in Vaccine Court, they just require more proof.

The Statute of Limitations (Time Bar) on Filing a Claim

There is a Statute of Limitations regarding the filing of your Claim. The statute provides that in order to have a valid claim, you must file your petition within three (3) years from the date of the first onset of your symptoms. If the vaccine injury resulted in death, you have two (2) years from the date of death to file the Claim. If you do not file your Claim within the proscribed period of time, you will not be able to file in the Vaccine Court.

What Do I Have to Prove in Order to Receive Payment for My Injury?

You must prove that:

  1. You received one of the vaccines listed on the Table of injuries; AND
  2. The first symptom of the injury falls into the time period designated in the “Qualifications and Aids to Interpretation” of the Table; OR
  3. The Vaccine caused the injury; OR
  4. The Vaccine caused a pre-existing illness to become “significantly aggravated.”

You, the Petitioner, have the burden of proof. That is why obtaining the appropriate medical records is imperative to your case.

There is a “presumption” in Vaccine Court pertaining to whether the Vaccine caused your injury. “Presumption” means that the Court will presume that the Vaccine did, in fact, cause your injury if you can show that the onset of your symptoms appeared within the time frame listed on the Table and the particular injury is listed on the Table. Therefore, if you fall within the guidelines of the Table, then your injuries are presumed to have been caused by the Vaccine.

Even if your injury is not on the Table or it is listed on the Table, but did not fall into the time frame set forth on the Table, you may still be eligible to receive payment as long as you prove that the Vaccine caused the injury. Such proof may necessitate the use of an expert witness. Widman Law Firm can assist you in proving these claims.

How Do I File a Vaccine Claim?

A petition is filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. Your case will be litigated provided your petition meets the following criteria:

  1. It is filed within the statute of limitations time frame, which is three (3) years from the date of the first onset of symptoms; or two (2) years from date of death, and
  2. You received a vaccine that is listed on the Table set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services, and
  3. Your injury is one of the listed injuries on the Table set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services. To find these relevant tables, click here.
  4. NOTE: If your injury is not one of the listed injuries on the Table or if your injury does not fall into the time frame designated on the Table, you may still have a valid claim. In those instances, you must prove, through medical evidence (such as expert witness testimony), that the Vaccine caused the injury.
Who Would I be Suing if I File a Claim?

The responding party to your claim is The United States Department of Health and Human Services acting as Defendant, represented by Attorneys from the United States Department of Justice.

What Type of Award Would I get if I Win or Settle the Claim?

If you show that you were injured by a Vaccine, you may receive the following:

  1. Money for past and future non-reimbursable medical related expenses; including,
    1. Custodial care
    2. Rehabilitation costs
    3. And related expenses
      • The amount of money awarded to you is based on your needs as a result of your injury caused by the Vaccine. Therefore, there is no limit on the amount of money you can be paid under this section; and/or
  2. Up to $250,000 for pain and suffering; and/or
  3. Lost earnings; and/or
  4. Reasonable lawyers’ fees and other legal costs if your claim was filed in good faith.
Can a Vaccine Claim go to Trial?

Claims in the Vaccine Court can be either denied, settled or tried. If the case is tried, there is no jury. Rather, the Special Master (Special Judge) decides the case. The hearing can be conducted in a Federal Court near where you live and you may not have to physically appear depending on the circumstances. The Court is very accommodating and may allow you to appear using videoconference capabilities.

What Can I Do if I did not Receive an Award in Vaccine Court or I Do Not Agree with the Award?

If you do not agree with the Court’s decision in Vaccine Court, you still may be able to file a traditional civil complaint in a trial court. Different rules, procedure and law may apply to the trial court in your state or in Federal District Court than what was required in the Vaccine Court.

Phyllis Widman is a civil litigator admitted in State Court and Federal District Court and can prosecute your claim in those venues. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your case in Vaccine Court, call Widman Law Firm, LLC for a free evaluation.