Today we are going to discuss how Covid raises questions about vaccination injuries.
Uncertain times generate new and unprecedented issues, especially within the law. COVID-19 has caused life-altering shifts in the way we make decisions and react to an ever-changing landscape of unknowns. While individuals work to maintain equilibrium in their personal lives, the legal system and all its components work to support the continued function of society in response to the pandemic. At Cantor Injury Law, we like to do our part to help inform the public of important relevant issues.
All Aspects Of Daily Life Impacted
COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of daily life for people across the country and the globe. Now, after nine months of suffering the physical, financial, and societal effects of the pandemic, several small groups of scientists have created preventative tools to fight the continued spread of Covid. Against seemingly impossible odds, the companies working to produce a solution to the virus have succeeded at producing workable vaccines that will be administered to the public in record time.
Although the possibility of an effective vaccine is exciting, many citizens are conflicted about the potential side-effects of the vaccines being administered. As a result, the perceived downsides of rushed pharmaceuticals have presented seemingly novel legal issues. Questions regarding legal courses of action following injuries related to vaccines are being raised and presented to attorneys who practice in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. Unfortunately, for those suffering harms, the issues presented are not as novel as COVID-19 itself. The realities of bringing claims are not what one might traditionally hope for given the circumstances.
Due to the extraordinary nature of the pandemic, the PREP Act has allowed the pharmaceutical companies producing the initial vaccines to receive blanket immunity for issues arising from their rapid development process. This type of mass protection from liability is rare but necessary in quickly generating cost-effective vaccines on such a large scale. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration has approval protections for the vaccines pursuant to its sovereign immunity. This means that personal injury lawsuits will not be working their way through any courts across the country because of expedited COVID-19 vaccines.
While this seems like another impossible situation caused by Covid, there are mechanisms that exist to remedy vaccine-related injuries. The first of which is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Fund which theoretically allows for $50,000/year in compensation for medical expenses and lost wages and death benefits providing a maximum recovery of $370,376. But due to the historical lack of recovery from the program, other avenues for recovery are potentially more viable options. One such example is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which could be expanded to include Covid vaccines since it pre-dates the pandemic. Created in concert with the 1998 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, the program established a system for handling claims related to certain vaccine injuries.
Lawsuits Dealt With By Specialized Tribunals
Instead of traditional lawsuits, vaccine cases are dealt with by specialized tribunals within the Court of Federal Claims in which a special master is appointed to adjudicate the claim. These cases, brought against the Department of Health and Human Services, require specialized knowledge of the narrow issues and unconventional procedures. As a result of the complexity of the mechanisms for vaccine injury recovery, a select group of law firms develop very specialized practices to deal with these issues separate and distinct from traditional personal injury cases.
While there are examples of large awards for vaccine injuries reported by specialized law firms in Missouri, those cases are far and few between and deal with issues more complex than the reasonably expected side effects. A firm in Kansas City Missouri boasts the highest ever recovery in the United States for a vaccine injury in the tens of millions, but the injuries and compensation in that case were an outlier among vaccine claims. In Missouri, prevalent cases such as Callahan v. Cardinal Glennon Hosp. highlight vaccination injuries by way of medical malpractice claims, which vastly differ in nature from that of the kind contemplated by individuals concerned about the new vaccines. Victims of vaccine-related injuries should be prepared to work to prove their injuries and limit their expectations of recovery based on the unique mechanisms potentially available.
Given the nature of the legal landscape that exists to deal with injuries related to vaccines, Cantor Injury Law will not be accepting cases raising claims of injuries related to COVID-19 vaccines. Cantor Injury Law is dedicated to specializing in the needs of individuals suffering injuries outside of the specific realm of vaccinations. Whether it be a motor vehicle accident, dog bite, or work-related injury, Cantor Injury Law is here to provide the absolute best in legal representation. The winter holidays are an especially difficult time to deal with the effects of injuries, so reach out to Cantor Injury Law and speak to one of our attorneys if you are in need of assistance today.