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Vaccine Injury: A Brief History & Your Rights

Posted on in Vaccination Injury

Since 1988, the first year in which such records were kept, there have been more than 15,000 claims filed in the United States for personal injury caused by vaccination. The year with the highest number of cases filed was 2003, in which nearly 3,000 claims – one-fifth of the aggregate total – were filed, followed by 2004. According to theHealth Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of claims filed in 2013 (the most recent year for which complete data was available) was 503. As of March 2014, 218 claims had been filed. These types of claims cost the medical industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The most common types of injuries caused by vaccinations are temporary and not serious.

As reported by the History of Vaccines, an initiative of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, side effects can generally include soreness, swelling, redness, fever, aching, or rash, especially at the site of the vaccine. More serious, life threatening risks of vaccinations are often a result of an allergic reaction.

Until the 1950s, patients who were injured after receiving a properly manufactured vaccine had no legal recourse. In the Gottsdanker v. Cutter Laboratories case, however, the California Supreme Court ruled that although the lab had not been negligent, it was still financially responsible for the harm caused by its Salk polio vaccine.

It was not until the mid 1980s though that Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which “included a number of regulations related to informed consent and adverse event reporting.” It required that doctors and providers administering certain vaccines would now be responsible to provide caretakers or guardians with a list of risks associated with the vaccines, and it also established a formal system for taking vaccine injury complaints.

Noted by the HRSA in regards to filing a vaccine injury claim, an injury must last more than six months after the vaccine was administered, and it must have resulted in either a hospital stay or surgery. Temporary side effects are not applicable to a vaccine injury suit.

To file, a person must include a claims cover sheet, medical records and all necessary documentation, and a $350 filing fee. Do not attempt to go through this without the assistance of a defective medical device attorney. If you or someone you know has been affected by a vaccine injury in the Chicago area, contact an experienced Chicago vaccination injury attorney at Newland & Newland, LLP for a free initial consultation today.

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