Tennessee Vaccine Injury Attorney
Widman Law Firm is admitted and able to file claims for vaccine related injuries taking place in the State of Tennessee. The admission required to bring vaccine injury claims in front of the Court of Federal Claims, where vaccine injury claims are heard, is a federal admission. Therefore, Phyllis Widman, Esq. is fully admitted and prepared to bring vaccine injury claims in all 50 states and D.C., including Tennessee. Whether you are in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Kingsport, or anywhere in between, the capable and astute team at Widman Law Firm is fully prepared to provide you and your family with high quality legal representation for your vaccine injury claim.The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
During the 1970’s and 80’s, controversy surrounded the Pertussis vaccine. Parents claimed the immunization resulted in permanent brain damage to their children, and they started taking the drug companies to court - and winning. This spike in lawsuits, combined with negative press and public outrage, caused vaccine manufacturers to stop producing the Pertussis shot. By 1985, only one maker of the vaccine was left in the United States.
The tumbling vaccination rate forced the U.S. Government to do something, and in 1986, they did: Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which removed financial liability from vaccine makers in the event of vaccine injuries. Once the vaccine makers could no longer be sued directly, an alternative system by which people could be compensated for injuries had to be established. In 1988, that system, called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), was formed.
As of 2023, $4.4 BILLION dollars in compensation has been granted by the VICP.
Bankrolled by an excise tax placed on vaccine purchases, the VICP is a legal claims process that operates via the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The program covers routinely administered immunizations as well as a number of medically recognized adverse reactions to them.
Some of the vaccines covered by the program include, but are not limited to:
- Seasonal flu
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Measels, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
- And more
Some of the injuries recognized by the program:
- SIRVA (Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration)
- ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis)
- GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome)
- CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy)
- And more
To receive compensation from the VICP, one must file what is called a petition, themselves becoming the petitioner. The petitioner must then prove three things: that they received a vaccine listed on this Table; that the injury is a recognized possible reaction to the vaccine; and that the injury occurred within a predefined amount of time.
Due to the legal nature of the process, it is highly advised to proceed with a knowledgeable vaccine injury attorney who can navigate the federal claims system. However, petitioners are rarely (if ever) required to appear in court; because of vaccine court’s country-wide jurisdiction, cases proceed by video conference. Court proceedings for vaccine cases are not typical jury trials like in criminal cases, but bench trials: hearings in which two opposing counsel bring evidence before a Special Master for review.
If a Special Master finds that the preponderance of the evidence shows that an injury was most likely caused by a vaccine or vaccine administration, or if both counsel come to a settlement agreement, a monetary award will be issued depending on the petitioner’s case. That award can include:
- An award for pain and suffering, up to $250,000
- Reimbursement of medical costs
- Reimbursement of lost wages
- Projected cost of living expenses
- Some or all of the above
Alternatively, if a death occurred as a result of vaccination, a benefit of up to $250,000 may be given to the estate of the deceased.The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program
By the mid-2000’s, drug companies had already been lobbying for more protections from the government. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act only protected those companies for certain vaccines; it did not cover other forms of new or experimental medicines, such as medical countermeasures developed in a time of emergency. With the U.S. at a heightened threat level after 9/11, drug makers believed they could be called upon to develop such countermeasures at any time. But without more protection from the government, those countermeasures - having been expedited and therefore less researched - posed a significant financial risk to the manufacturers.
In 2005, the drug companies’ lobbying paid off, and Congress passed the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. The Act gives drug makers “immunity from actions related to the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration and use of medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents of terrorism, epidemics, and pandemics” (Wikipedia). Like the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act created a need for the VICP, the PREP Act brought about the establishment of the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, or CICP.
The PREP Act saw little use until it was invoked on March 10, 2020, when the former Secretary of Health and Human Services issued a Declaration for medical countermeasures against COVID–19. This meant that manufacturers of medical countermeasures against the coronavirus, whether vaccines or otherwise, would be protected from lawsuits arising out of countermeasure-related injuries. Instead, those injured by COVID countermeasures would need to go through the CICP to receive compensation.
As of 2023, out of the 11,708 claims filed in the CICP, 11,196 (95.6%) have been COVID-19 countermeasure-related.
The COVID vaccine accounts for the majority of those claims.
While the CICP shares some similarities with the VICP, it also differs in a number of ways. Unlike the VICP, the CICP is not a legal claims system, and therefore it has no hearings, opposing counsel, or Special Masters. Instead, each claim is individually reviewed by medical staff of the Department of Health and Human Services, who then make a determination regarding compensation. Although the CICP claims process is not a legal one, it is still recommended to file through a specialized personal injury attorney familiar with the system.Experienced Vaccine Lawyers Who Will Fight for YOU
Unlike massive law firms that only have a vaccine “department”, Widman Law Firm has specialized in and prioritized our vaccine injury cases from the very beginning. Our attorneys are in vaccine court every day representing people whose lives have been paused or even permanently altered as a result of their injuries. No matter what your situation may be, the team at Widman Law Firm is prepared to fight until you get your due compensation.
Call or send us an email today to learn more about how our team can file your claim for compensation in the VICP or CICP today. Be advised: there is a statute of limitations of 3 years from the onset of the injury to file in the VICP, and only 1 year from countermeasure administration to file in the CICP. Don’t wait - once the statute has expired, you will no longer be able to file in either program.