The rise of COVID-19 cases across the globe has led to widespread vaccination efforts by local and federal governments looking to curb the spread of the pandemic. As a result, SIRVA-related injuries have increased over the past two years, leaving many people at a loss as to what they can do.
SIRVA, which stands for “shoulder injury related to vaccine administration,” can cause severe shoulder pain and decrease mobility. While experiencing mild soreness after vaccination is common, SIRVA symptoms are often more severe and can hamper your ability to work and make it difficult to perform everyday activities.
In such cases, seeking legal action and compensation for your injuries may be appropriate. But how long do SIRVA cases take to settle? What does filing a claim entail? At Sadaka Law, we’ll answer all your SIRVA questions, guiding you through the filing process to help you access compensation for your vaccine-related injuries.
What Vaccines Usually Cause SIRVA?
To understand which vaccines are most likely to cause SIRVA, it’s important to know what causes SIRVA in the first place. To begin with, the proper administration of a vaccine involves injecting the vaccine into a patient’s deltoid muscle on their upper arm.
A misplaced needle can bypass the deltoid and deliver the injection to the bursa, a liquid sac surrounding the shoulder that facilitates arm movement. By missing the deltoid and hitting this sensitive area, the vaccine can cause extreme pain and discomfort, two clear symptoms of SIRVA.
Since the root cause of SIRVA depends more on the placement of the needle than the vaccine itself, SIRVA can occur from almost any vaccination involving a needle. However, a vast majority of SIRVA cases result from the improper administration of the flu vaccine. Vaccines that can cause SIRVA include DTaP/Tdap, Hepatitis A/B, HPV, Tetanus, and others.
Unsurprisingly, the widespread administration of the COVID-19 vaccine has also led to a spike in the number of SIRVA cases over the past two years. While SIRVA is by no means a reason to avoid getting a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to be aware of its possibility and act accordingly when such mistakes occur.
How Do I Avoid SIRVA?
Whether or not you contract SIRVA will largely depend on the actions and training of the person administering the vaccine to you. This can make it difficult to avoid since the variables involved are out of your, the patient’s, control. While SIRVA injuries remain relatively rare, doctors believe many people who suffer from SIRVA neglect to report their symptoms in many cases.
Because patients cannot take preventative measures against SIRVA, one of the best things you can do for yourself is learn how to identify common symptoms. Knowing how to identify SIRVA will enable you to take the appropriate measures in response to your injury. The symptoms of SIRVA include:
- Severe shoulder pain lasting weeks or months
- Poor range of motion around the vaccination site
- Skin and muscle inflammation
- Soreness and stiffness in one’s shoulder
If you experience any of the above symptoms within 48-hours of receiving a vaccine, reach out to a medical professional for immediate treatment and diagnosis. Since the symptoms of SIRVA can mirror several other conditions, early diagnosis can help confirm if SIRVA is the cause of your discomfort.
Proper diagnosis will also ensure you receive the appropriate treatment for your condition and clear documentation of your injury for your claim.
Can I Do Anything to Help with SIRVA Symptoms?
While you cannot do much to avoid SIRVA when receiving a vaccine, you can learn some tricks that may help mitigate the pain:
- Cold Compress – Applying an ice pack or cold compress to your shoulder can help numb the area around the vaccination site as well as help reduce swelling. This will reduce soreness, making it easier for you to perform normal household activities.
- Flex Your Shoulder – Moving your arm and shoulder may alleviate achy muscles and stiffness. These movements can increase blood flow around the vaccination area, helping to stretch out and relax sore muscles.
- Avoid Skin Irritation – If the area around the vaccine site is sensitive, avoid touching it more than you need to–this will only cause further irritation and soreness. Restrictive clothing may be uncomfortable or inflame the skin, so try to wear something baggy or with an opening around the sensitive area.
- Hydrate – Drinking water is good for your body, especially under stressful circumstances. It will also help cool you down if the inflamed area starts to heat up or feel swollen.
How Does a Vaccine Injury Legal Claim Work?
In 1986, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). As the name suggests, this program allocates funds to those suffering from vaccine-related injuries. To access compensation from VICP, patients must file their vaccine injury claims with the United States Court of Federal Claims.
According to VICP, eligible patients have undergone hospital treatment for their injuries or experienced symptoms that persisted for a minimum of six months after vaccination. Eligible persons must then build their case, gathering all relevant documentation, including medical records of their injuries and treatment.
Once you gather this information, you must file your petition with the federal courts. The filing will then pass on to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for review. If your petition meets the qualifying criteria, VICP will then determine the amount of your compensation based on your medical expenses and other documentation.
You may have to defend your claim at trial if the courts reject your petition. This will require further proof of your injury and can delay the settlement of your case.
How Much Compensation Can I Get From a SIRVA Case?
VICP sets a maximum of $250,000 compensation for a patient’s pain and suffering. However, no limit exists to the amount you can receive for medical expenses and lost wages, which the court will award based on the documentation you provide.
Because of this, how much patients receive from their claims can vary greatly from case to case and will largely depend on the facts and circumstances of their injuries and the documents they submit with their petitions.
What Is the Deadline for a SIRVA Filing?
If you’re filing for yourself, VICP requires that patients submit their claim within three years of the vaccination that resulted in a SIRVA injury. While a three-year window may exist, you should avoid delaying treatment or waiting too long before filing. The sooner you see a doctor and document your case, the more likely the court will merit your claim.
If you’re filing on behalf of a loved one who died from a vaccine-related injury, you must file a claim on their behalf within two years and within four years of the symptoms that led to their death.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a SIRVA Claim?
While you can file a SIRVA claim independently, people often find navigating the VICP and legal systems challenging. For many, the process can take time and resources and cause undue stress. It can also be hard to know how to organize your medical records and documentation to maximize your compensation.
More than helping you organize your case, a vaccine injury lawyer will ensure that your SIRVA claim has everything it needs to succeed in court. From gathering documents to filing your claim, an attorney can expedite the compensation process, advocating on your behalf so you don’t have to.
It’s also possible to seek compensation for attorney fees on top of the sums you receive for your injury. This means that payment for an attorney’s services can come from VICP itself, without subtracting from your compensation. This allows you to access all the benefits of having a vaccine injury attorney without shoulder the full burden of attorney fees.
At Sadaka Law, we’ve helped countless clients receive compensation for vaccine-related injuries. With a deep knowledge of the VICP system, we know the ins and outs of the petition process and how to present your case effectively.
How Long Do SIRVA Cases Take to Settle?
How long a SIRVA case takes to settle will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your claim. If you settle a claim without going to trial, the entire process can take one to two years to resolve. If the court disputes your case and it goes to trial, the process can take three to four years, if not longer.
With years of experience helping patients access SIRVA compensation, our team at Sadaka Law is familiar with what it takes to ensure the court hears your case promptly. By preparing your claim for you, we work hard on your behalf to expedite the process and avoid issues that could delay your compensation.
Why Does It Take So Long for a SIRVA Case to Settle?
The acute symptoms of SIRVA can be distressing for many people. This can make a delay in SIRVA payments troubling for those unable to work due to their vaccine injury. While frustrating, the time it takes to settle a SIRVA case depends almost entirely on the court’s review and approval of your petition.
Before receiving compensation, VICP has to sort through and verify the medical documents you submit, ensuring that your petition and SIRVA-related injury are legitimate.
How long the settlement process takes will also depend on the details of your case and the number of medical documents you include with your petition. Aside from the time required to assemble all the necessary paperwork, most of the process involves the VICP’s evaluation of your claim. During this period, they will determine the amount of your compensation based on the paperwork you’ve presented.
Of course, if the court contests your petition, you may have to go to trial, which will extend the time it takes before you receive compensation.
How Do I Speed Up the Settlement Process?
One way to help speed up the settlement process is by ensuring you have the proper medical documentation evidencing your injury. Symptoms of SIRVA usually appear within 48 hours of vaccination. If and when they do appear, you must seek immediate medical care. An early diagnosis will establish the vaccine as the root cause of your symptoms. The clearer your diagnosis is, the less time it will take to prove your case.
However, the simplest way to expedite the settlement process is by seeking the help of a vaccine injury lawyer. Although it may not be possible to rush the VICP’s evaluation of your case, having someone on your team who is familiar with SIRVA claims will help streamline the filing process, ensuring that no errors or discrepancies are present that might cause unnecessary delays.
A vaccine injury lawyer will also know what VICP is looking for and can use their knowledge of the review process to your advantage.
Over the years, our experienced attorneys at Sadaka Law have collected over $70 million in vaccine compensation for about 500 clients. With our deep knowledge of the legal process, we can save you time and money by helping you navigate the VICP system.
Are you wondering how long your SIRVA case will take to settle? Contact us at Sadaka Law today to learn more about the settlement process and how to start your claim. Our toll-free New York office number is 1-800-810-3457.