Every vaccine and prescription drug on the market must go through a rigorous government approval process before it can be sold to the public. However, this governmental oversight doesn't always mean that vaccines and drugs are safe. People frequently suffer injuries, some of which are fatal, because of inherent dangers that aren't discovered until long after the vaccine or drug is approved, or because of defective manufacturing.
Vaccine Injuries May Be Covered Under Federal Law
Under federal law, all monetary claims against a vaccine manufacturer or provider must be made through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS will review all documentation and evidence that you submit and decide whether you're entitled to compensation for your injuries. The maximum award you can receive for vaccine-related injuries and deaths under the program is $250,000.
You Can Still File a Lawsuit Against Vaccine Companies
A majority of the claims that HHS receives are denied. When this happens, you still have the right to sue the vaccine manufacturer or provider in court. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the monetary award you can receive isn't subject to HHS maximums.
Prescription Manufacturers May Be Strictly Liable
Most states impose strict liability on manufacturers when the prescription drugs they produce are the cause of your injuries. Strict liability lawsuits commonly cover situations where the pills are defective or tainted during the manufacturing process or when the manufacturer fails to include a warning label. Alternatively, you can claim that your injury was the result of negligence by the manufacturer, distributor, or pharmacy. In a negligence case, however, you have to prove that one of the parties failed to exercise a reasonable level of care.
Monetary Damages Cover More Than Injuries
The amount of monetary damages you receive will always depend on the severity of your personal injuries. You may be able to get reimbursed for your medical expenses, compensation for the mental and physical pain and suffering you endured, and amounts for lost wages, both past and future. In addition, juries sometimes award punitive damages, which is money that is intended to punish the vaccine or drug provider.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding personal injury caused by drugs and vaccines is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.