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Elements of Causation or What You Need to Prove: Timing of Onset

Vaccine injury cases are very challenging. In non-Table cases vaccine injured petitioners need to prove three things: plausible medical theory connecting the vaccine to the injury (Can the vaccine cause this injury?), a logical sequence of cause and effect (Did the vaccine case the injury), and a medically appropriate temporal association (timing of onset).

Not every medical that occurs after vaccination is related to the vaccination. The timing of the onset of symptoms has to be medically appropriate. That means it has to occur within a time period that you would expect medically. Not every injury occurs within the same time period. In both Table and non-Table cases we must prove medically appropriate timing.

For example, a Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration must occur within 48 hours of vaccination, but an encephalopathy or encephalitis after MMR vaccine would likely occur between 5 and 15 days after. If the symptoms start within 24 hours, it might be too soon to be the vaccine that caused it.

Medically appropriate vaccine injury onsets range from 4-6 hours after vaccination (anaphylaxis) to 42-60 days after vaccination for a neurodemyelinating injuries like Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Table cases must strictly meet the timing listed on the Table. In non-Table cases, we will likely need expert testimony to explain the timing and how it’s medically appropriate.

Vaccine injury cases are quite difficult and in our initial discussion with you we will ask about the timing because it is a fundamental element of causation we need to prove.


For more information contact The Law Office of Renée J. Gentry, Esq.

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