Types of Compensation Available
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program provides for three types of compensation:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Reimbursement of medical expenses
Every claim that is compensated in the VICP provides some degree of pain and suffering. However, the circumstances of the case determine whether lost wages or medical expenses are provided.
Pain and Suffering
The VICP can pay up to $250,000.00 for pain and suffering. In cases where the person died of their vaccine injury, the award is set at $250,000.00.
It is difficult to put a figure on pain and suffering. However, it is the only means available to provide some relief to those injured by vaccinations.
In practice, the amount of pain and suffering will depend on the facts of the case, such as:
- Type of treatment
- Duration of treatment
- Severity of symptoms
- Duration of symptoms
- Effects on daily living
- Permanency of symptoms
- Emotional stress imposed by injury
Pain and suffering awards are not taxable. In addition, My Vaccine Lawyer retains no portion of the award. The award is sent to the petitioner in its entirety.
If the vaccine injury, or treatment of the injury, caused the petitioner to miss work, then the petitioner can seek lost wages.
In cases where the petitioner receives the vaccination at work and receives workers’ compensation benefits, then the petitioner can seek the balance between the workers’ compensation benefit and the actual lost wages (usually workers’ compensation or disability benefits will pay around 2/3 of the actual lost wages).
The VICP will pay the lost wages after deduction of the usual taxes.
Reimbursement of Medical Expenses
In cases where the petitioner incurred costs for treatment of the vaccine injury, the VICP will reimburse the costs. However, the VICP will only reimburse the portion actually paid or due to be paid, by the petitioner. The VICP does not reimburse any portion paid by insurance companies. However, if state Medicaid has paid for any portion of treatment, the VICP will reimburse those expenses directly to Medicaid. It is crucial that petitioners advise their vaccine injury attorney if they believe Medicaid may have paid for any treatment. Otherwise, Medicaid may seek reimbursement from the petitioner’s share of the award.
Petitioners can also recover damages for medical expenses that they will incur in the future. Typically, this type of recovery is reserved for more catastrophic injuries where home nursing or home modifications are involved. For future medical expenses, we typically retain a life care planner or other expert to provide estimates of expenses the petitioner will incur in the future as a result of the vaccine injury.