"I don't see my injury on the Table. Does that mean I don't have a case?"
The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has two types of claims that can be filed: Table and Non-Table claims.
Table claims are those that meet all the criteria in the Vaccine Injury Table, i.e. must be a covered vaccine, must be the injury listed including everything in the Qualifications and Aids to Interpretation, and must occur in the timing specified on the Table. You must meet all of these to qualify as a Table injury. If you meet these criteria, then you get a presumption of causation that typically means your case goes straight into damages. [NOTE: The VICP is a bifurcated legal process, meaning the Special Master must first determine if the vaccine caused your injury and then they determine damages.] Table cases are typically easier and take less time.
However, if your injury is not listed on the Table or you fail to meet one of the criteria, that does not mean you don’t have a claim. You may still have a claim, but you must prove that the vaccine in fact caused the injury. These are called non-Table cases or causation-in-fact cases. In this circumstance you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not, that the vaccine caused the injury. These cases will more closely resemble a typical civil trial. It is highly likely that your lawyer will engage the services of a relevant expert witness to review your medical records, write a report outlining her theory of causation and eventually testify on your behalf. The government – the opposing side – will also have experts on their side. Causation-in-fact claims typically take longer, sometimes considerably longer. There may be multiple rounds of expert reports before a trial is scheduled.
Ultimately, the Special Master will render an opinion as to whether or not the vaccine caused your injury. If they find for you then you on causation go to damages.
For more information contact The Law Office of Renée J. Gentry, Esq.