National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

What is National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

In order to minimize the exposure of drug companies to liability for personal injury suits, Congress enacted legislation to allow claimants to make direct claims with the United States government in the Human Resources & Services Administration for compensation for injuries due to side effects caused by vaccines. In the 30 years since the program was initiated in 1989, there of been only 7,000 cases filed. Less than half of those cases resulted in compensation to victims. Total compensation over the 30 year span has been in excess of $4 billion.

The advantage to making this special Federal claim is the injured party has little in discovery and litigation costs relative to a product liability case. However, if the claim does not fit within one of the narrowly proscribed claims for vaccine side-effects listed in a table, then the injured party still has to prove many of the same elements that are necessary to win a product liability case.

State Claims

Many attorneys would advise their clients to bring a product liability case in state court rather than Federal Court because of the Daubert standard. (Daubert was a US Supreme Court case explaining the scientific standard for proof in claims brought in Federal Court, which is generally higher than the standard of proof in state court.) But each case would need to be evaluated on its merit.