Monday, November 7, 2011

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

While most victims of negligence in the provision of medical care by health care providers may seek redress through the traditional tort system via a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, those suffering injury or death allegedly caused by the administration of certain vaccines are, as a practical matter, compelled by federal law to pursue their claims for compensation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), rather than pursuing claims against the vaccines’ manufacturers or against the health care providers who administered the vaccines. 

Created pursuant to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to -34, the VICP provides a no-fault compensation system through which persons may file a petition before the federal government for monetary damages.

VICP claims are filed with, managed and adjudicated by the Office of Special Masters within the United States Court of Federal Claims, located in Washington, D.C.

Compensation, if awarded, is made by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, which is funded by an excise tax on each dose of certain vaccines which are recommended for routine administration to children by the Centers for Disease Control. 

For more information about the VICP, including a table of covered vaccines, compensable injuries, and information about the claims process, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program website at: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html 

Have questions or comments?  E-mail Attorney Tony Stevens at wstevens@bpslawyers.com