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The Federal Government has granted broad immunity for healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As such, those injured by a healthcare provider or vaccine manufacturer only have one remedy[1] – a claim under the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP).[2]

The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP)

The CICP is not a court, but a program administered and run by the Department of Health and Human Services. There is no further administrative review other than a request for reconsideration by HHS. There is no judicial review or appeal from an HHS decision.  There are no published cases in the CICP and little to no guidance for attorneys. The use of a legal or other representative in the CICP is considered “optional” and as such the CICP program does not pay for any legal fees or costs.

CICP claimants have to prove causation based on compelling, reliable scientific evidence.

Claimants in the CICP process have one year to apply for program benefits after the use of a covered “countermeasure” associated with the injury. Covered “countermeasures” include (1) “qualified pandemic or epidemic products,” (2) “security countermeasures,” or (3) drugs, biological products, or devices authorized for investigational or emergency use.

Damages in the CICP include out-of-pocket medical expenses determined to be reasonable and necessary and lost employment income benefits (66-2/3% of an individual’s unreimbursed gross income or 75% if the individual had dependents at the time of injury). There is a maximum of $50,000 for lost employment income per year. The CICP provides death benefits to certain survivors which as of 2020 is $365,670. There is no pain-and-suffering compensation in the CICP program.

The CICP is distinguishable from the other more well-known vaccine compensation program – the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)

Injuries from covered vaccines (Tetanus, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps or Rubella, Polio, Hepatitis A and B, Haemophilus influenza, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal conjugate; Seasonal flu vaccine, Meningococcal and HPV) are part of the NVICP. The Vaccine Compensation Program is administered through the Vaccine Court, part of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. Cases are handled by Special Masters whose decisions can be appealed. Published decisions are available online.

Petitioners injured by a covered vaccine can file a claim in the Vaccine Court for pain-and-suffering damages, (limited to $250,000), out-of-pocket medical expenses, wage loss and a death benefit. Vaccine Petitioners have three years from the date of onset to file a claim.

Vaccine petitioners are typically represented by vaccine attorneys who are specifically certified. Attorney fees are paid separately by the Vaccine Court as long as the claim was filed with a reasonable basis.

If you have questions about whether you have a covered claim under the NVICP or the CICP, please contact Kathleen Loucks at Lommen Abdo.

 

[1] Immunity does not apply if the claim is for willful misconduct.

[2] The CICP also covers countermeasures related to injuries from: Nerve Agents, Ebola, H1N1, Anthrax, Botulism, Smallpox, and Acute Radiation Syndrome.