Injury Compensation Program Provides No-Fault Benefits to Children Who Were Hurt by Vaccines in Indiana and Elsewhere

Since a multi-state measles outbreak was recently traced to a Disney amusement park, childhood vaccinations have been a hot topic in the news. Sadly, preventable diseases that were once largely eradicated have slowly been making a comeback in Indiana and across the nation. Indiana law requires all children who attend state or accredited private schools to be immunized against measles and a host of other communicable diseases unless the child has a medical or religious exemption. Unlike many other states, philosophical vaccination exemptions are not allowed in Indiana.

In 2014, the overall immunization rate in our state was reportedly about 68 percent. This places Indiana’s vaccination rate at 33rd best in the United States. Some parents who are concerned about the long-term health effects of childhood vaccines refuse to allow a physician to vaccinate their school-age children. Many parents who refuse to vaccinate according to the prescribed schedule point to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as proof that childhood vaccines can cause lifelong harm.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program issues no-fault awards to Americans who were injured by certain vaccines administered on or after October 1, 1988. The program was created by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 after numerous injury lawsuits resulted in vaccine shortages. Since 1989, the fund has paid more than $2.8 billion in awards on behalf of infants, children, adolescents, and adults hurt by a listed vaccine.

Under the program, compensable harm can range from pain related to a flu vaccine to neurological disorders, autism, and permanent brain injuries. In many cases, vaccine injuries affect children with underlying disorders or drug sensitivities. For example, the parents of a 19-month-old child with an undiagnosed cell disorder received an initial $1.5 million award from the fund after she developed seizures and permanent brain damage as a result of receiving five vaccines in a single doctor’s visit. The family is expected to receive up to $20 million to assist with her care over the course of the child’s lifetime. Unfortunately, it took the child’s family eight years to prevail on their injury claim.

Although some medical experts believe the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has “turned its back on science,” others counter that most medical evidence related to vaccines is funded by the very drug companies that produce them. Regardless, the national program’s apparent goal was to encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children for the good of the general public.

If you believe your child was injured by a vaccine or other drug manufacturer’s product, you are advised to speak with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney about your rights as soon as possible. To discuss your situation with a Merrillville medical malpractice lawyer today, do not hesitate to call Theodoros & Rooth, P.C. at (219) 212-2462 or contact us through our website.

Additional Resources:

Parents take greater role in childhood vaccines, by Michael Reschke,