Vaccinations currently in use have gone through rigorous government approval processes and testing before being released to the public. However, that does not mean a vaccination did not encounter governmental oversight. People can suffer from serious, if not fatal, injuries because of vaccinations, and sometimes the manufacturers of such vaccinations may not be aware of the risks until long after it is approved.
Unfortunately, vaccination injuries are not like other pharmaceutical defects – and not all vaccination injuries will be compensated by the government. Under federal law, a claim against a vaccine manufacturer must be made through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – which is overseen by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HHS will then review documentation and evidence that you have submitted regarding a particular vaccination and determine if compensation is merited. There is a maximum award for these vaccine-related injuries, which caps at $250,000 under the federal program.
Starting in 2001, manufacturers and the government started to receive hundreds to thousands of complaints claiming that vaccinations caused their child’s autism. These claims also were part of the Anti-Vaccination Movement. Specifically, the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine was named as the culprit.
The theories were thoroughly tested through three test cases and overseen by a special master. The first opinion was finally issued in 2009, which stated that in all three cases, the MMR vaccine given on its own or in combination with other vaccinations did not result in or cause autism. While petitioners are still attempting to move forward and push their claims, no new evidence that has been submitted has ever proved that autism is caused by the MMR vaccine or any other vaccine currently administered in the United States.
A large majority of vaccine injury claims received by the HHS will be denied. But, this does not mean families suffering from vaccine-related injuries are without recourse. They can still file a lawsuit against the vaccine’s manufacturer in civil court.
However, proving that vaccination caused direct harm can be difficult – especially with the numerous studies dispelling beliefs that vaccinations can cause injury. Instead of the formulation being the cause, a victim would more likely be injured if the medical facility administered the vaccination incorrectly or a defect occurred during the manufacturing or distribution of the vaccine itself.
In these types of liability cases, the monetary reward is not subject to the HHS maximum damage caps.
Proving that a vaccination harmed you or a loved one is difficult and the laws regarding vaccination injuries are very complex. Because the facts of each injury case are unique, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney before pursuing your claim. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.