When you have been injured by a vaccine, you likely do not know the process by which to receive compensation for your injury. While there is a streamlined procedure to follow to determine if you will be paid for your injury, you must first know how to file a claim. This is where a vaccine lawyer can help you. While you may not need to go through a full trial, you will still be subject to a legal process that your vaccine injury lawyer can help you in navigate. Below are some of the many ways in which a vaccine lawyer can assist you after you have been injured.
Documenting Your Claim
In order to file the strongest possible claim, you will need to put a sound written record in front of the government lawyers. They are the ones who make the initial recommendation as to whether the government should settle your case.
Accordingly, what they see will make a large difference in how easy it is to receive payment for your claim. They will need to see the extent of your injury. This includes your medical records and related documents. They will also need to understand the basis for your claim.
You may not know what you need as part of your claim. A vaccine lawyer does, and they know how the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) works. They will assemble your claim and file so that it reads like the best possible case for your compensation.
Settling Your Claim
Even if the lawyers representing the government decide that your case should be settled, it is not the end of the story. The amount that you receive still needs to be fair. The government may recommend a settlement amount, but it may not be enough to pay you for the injury that you have suffered.
A settlement takes two parties to agree. There may be a negotiation involved in reaching the settlement amount with some back-and-forth between the two parties. Your vaccine lawyer can represent your interests in any settlement negotiation with the government.
You will likely not know how much your vaccine injury claim is worth since it is likely your first time dealing with this system. Your vaccine injury lawyer deals with VICP claims regularly so they will have a strong idea of the value of your claim. They will know if the government is making you a fair settlement offer and will advise you whether it is in your best interest to accept or reject the offer.
Sometimes, the government will concede that you should be paid for your injury, but will not come to an agreement with you. When that happens, the vaccine court decides your compensation and your lawyer will help make the case to the vaccine judge what your case is worth.
Representing You at a Hearing
Most vaccine injury cases will settle without the need for a hearing. However, if your case does not settle because the government does think that your claim has merit, the next step is a hearing.
A vaccine injury hearing is a legal proceeding, but it is not like a full jury trial. Still, there are legal matters to be dealt with and there may be the need to call witnesses and put on evidence in front of a Special Master. This will require an attorney who is skilled at proving scientific matters in a court.
These hearings are rare, but if your case goes to a hearing, it cannot be taken lightly. It is difficult to represent yourself in vaccine court arguing against government attorneys who do not believe that you deserve to be paid. A vaccine injury attorney can present your case at a hearing and attempt to persuade the vaccine court that you deserve compensation.
They Will Keep Track of Filing Deadlines
You may not be familiar with the rules of the VICP. It is a specialized legal forum that has its own rules. These rules can apply to the format and limitations of the filing that you would make with the vaccine court. Alternatively, these rules can govern the amount of time that you have to file your claim.
If you fail to follow these rules, the VICP can reject your claim entirely, especially if you have missed a filing deadline. Courts have little sympathy for those who are representing themselves and do not make exceptions to the rules for these instances.
A vaccine injury lawyer knows the rules that apply to this type of legal proceeding. They will track all of the deadlines for you to make sure that your claim is filed on time. They will also prepare your claim for you so it follows all of the local rules of the court. While there is nothing preventing you from handling your own claim, you are missing out on valuable expertise when you forgo the services of a vaccine lawyer.
They Can Educate You and Provide Counsel
Your lawyer should be more than just the person who files the claim with the vaccine court on your behalf. A good attorney is also your educator and counselor throughout the process. An attorney has experience with cases of this type and should be educating you as you go along as to what to expect from the proceeding. They will take the time to explain each step of the legal process and what it means to your case. Your vaccine injury attorney can also be a general advisor since they are familiar with many different types of vaccine injuries.
The legal process is often a mystery to those without the specialized knowledge and experience to understand it. This is where an attorney comes in because they can take the mystery out of the process and ensure that you understand what is happening.
If you are wondering whether it makes sense to retain a vaccine injury attorney, review all of the above and ask yourself whether you have the knowledge to handle each step of the process on your own. You are always free to represent yourself in any proceeding. However, you would then be missing out on the knowledge that a lawyer provides and you run the risk of filing either an untimely or ineffective claim with the VICP and not being paid the compensation that you deserve. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates are experienced at handling vaccine cases and have years of experience within the vaccine court. Contact them today for a no obligation evaluation of your case.
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The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.