Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is a rarely occurring neurological disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. This syndrome is characterized by the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking the nerves and may cause life-threatening complications. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) establishes a causal link between the flu shot and GBS for the GBS symptoms.
At Jeffrey S. Pop & Associates, we have an over 90% success rate in representing individuals who have been affected by various vaccinations. Our legal team is well-versed in the issues of these cases and has successfully secured settlements for numerous clients. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll GBS can take on individuals and their families, and we are committed to compassionate representation and fight for their rights.
If you or a loved one has suffered GBS-related injuries after vaccination, a vaccine injury attorney can help. He will carefully investigate the circumstances surrounding the GBS case to build a strong case.
Overview of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
Guillain-Barré Syndrome has been affecting people for many decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that GBS affects 3,000 to 6,000 people in the US every year. Medical professionals describe the disease as acute self-limited polyneuropathy. It was named after Guillain, Barré, and Strohl, the first researchers to discover GBS as a demyelinating disease in 1916.
To date, the exact cause of GBS is not always clear, but it is primarily known to be triggered by various infections and certain vaccines.
Vaccines That Commonly Trigger Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Some vaccines have been associated with an increased risk of GBS. Notable instances include the swine flu vaccine used during the 1976 flu pandemic and the oral polio vaccine.
Vaccines associated with GBS include:
- Diphtheria (DTP, Tdap, Td, DTaP, DT, TT)
- Seasonal influenza (Flu)
- Hepatitis A (HAV)
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Mumps (Mr, MMR, M)
- Meningococcal (MCV4, MPSV4)
- Measles (MMR)
- Haemophilus influenzae (polysaccharide conjugate vaccine type b
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pertussis (Tdap, DTaP, Tdap)
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
- Rubella (MMR, MR, R)
- Varicella (VAR)
- Polio (IPV or OPV)
- Tetanus (Td)
- Rotavirus (RV)
Symptoms of GBS
The symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome can vary from person to person but often include:
- Muscle weakness, typically starting in the legs and spreading to the upper body
- Tingling sensations or numbness
- Loss of muscle reflexes
- Rapid heart rate
- Low or high blood pressure
- Difficulty with coordination and balance
- Possible respiratory failure
- Bladder control challenges
- In rare cases, death
- In severe cases, complete paralysis
These symptoms can develop rapidly and may progress over several weeks. In 1-2 weeks, victims start to experience acute limb weakness with sensory nerve impairment. This may peak in 2–4 weeks. When victims experience rapid progression of the initial symptoms, we recommend a fast diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
After four weeks, there follows a recovery period that can take a few months to years. This time is characterized by immune response decay and endogenous repair for peripheral nerves. Those who recover from the syndrome:
- Around 80% can walk independently less than a year after diagnosis
- About 5% -10% exhibit slow response and no/partial recover
- About 60% fully recover 12 months following diagnosis
- Children who get GBS usually recover more speedily than adults
Effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome
GBS can have a big impact on the victims. Firstly, many GBS patients experience temporary or long-term paralysis, which affects their ability to walk, use their hands, or perform everyday tasks.
Also, the condition often leads to pain, sometimes severe, due to nerve damage. Dealing with the physical limitations and potential long-term effects of GBS can be emotionally challenging.
Treatment of Guillain-Barré Syndrome
The symptoms of GBS may be typical of other GBS subtypes, such as acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN), acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP), and acute motor sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN). You need prompt diagnosis and treatment to identify the syndrome and enhance your chances of recovery. Although there is no known cure for GBS, your doctor may prescribe two primary medications to improve the patient’s prognosis.
Plasma Exchange (Plasmapheresis)
Plasma exchange/plasmapheresis is a medical procedure that involves removing the liquid portion of the blood (plasma) and replacing it with a substitute, such as an albumin or saline solution. This process aims to eliminate harmful antibodies and proteins from the bloodstream that may be responsible for damaging the nerves in GBS.
Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG)
Immunoglobulin, on the other hand, involves administering high doses of immunoglobulins, the antibodies that can regulate the immune system. This therapy is believed to work by modifying the immune system’s response, reducing the immune attack on the nerves, and mitigating inflammation. Immunoglobulin therapy is another approach to managing GBS and is considered equally effective as plasmapheresis.
Despite these two treatment options, administering them concurrently or sequentially does not necessarily yield different results. In addition, doctors typically offer medication for pain relief and blood clot prevention.
It’s important to note that the treatment plan for Guillain-Barré Syndrome is highly important in determining the injury and the cause of the condition. Your attorney will use the medical records and bills to prove injuries and determine the severity of the condition on your life.
Losses Experienced by Guillain-Barré Syndrome Victims
Usually, the victims of GBS may experience significant losses. This is because GBS can lead to varying degrees of muscle weakness and paralysis. The medical care costs, therapy, and adaptive equipment can be financially burdensome for the victims and their families.
Some of the losses attributable to Guillain-Barré Syndrome include:
- Lifestyle adjustments: GBS victims may require assistive devices, home modifications, and ongoing medical care. These changes can disrupt their routines and necessitate adaptations to their living environment and daily activities.
- Emotional and psychological impact: Dealing with the physical limitations and potential long-term effects of GBS can affect an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. Feelings of depression, anxiety, frustration, and anxiety are common among GBS victims.
- Pain and discomfort: GBS frequently causes significant pain, tingling, and discomfort due to nerve damage. This can be physically distressing, which may demand continued medical interventions.
- Medical bills: GBS requires extensive medical care, including hospitalization, medications, and rehabilitation. The cost of treatment can accumulate rapidly due to prolonged stays in medical facilities.
- Wrongful death: Although relatively rare, GBS can sometimes lead to death. When a loved one dies due to GBS-related complications, a lawyer can help pursue compensation for wrongful death.
- Loss of Consortium: GBS can profoundly affect the lives of family members due to the victim’s suffering, pain, and disability. If you can prove how the condition strained family connections, it becomes recoverable damage.
- Lost earning capacity: GBS usually results in temporary or even long-term disabilities that prevent individuals from earning income. This loss of earning capacity can create financial stress, impacting the victim’s ability to support themselves and their families.
In cases where GBS is linked to vaccines or other factors, victims may seek legal recourse to address their losses. A vaccine injury attorney can assist victims in pursuing compensation for their losses and injuries.
What is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a government initiative designed to address vaccine-related injuries and ensure that the immunization rate in the United States remains stable. It was established as a result of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The act recognized the necessity of a compensation system to dissuade potentially costly and protracted legal battles while ensuring that the public’s confidence in immunization remained intact.
The VICP operates as a no-fault compensation system. This means that individuals who believe they have been injured by vaccines do not need to prove negligence on the part of vaccine manufacturers, healthcare providers, or any other party. Instead, they can seek compensation through a simplified process. The compensation is primarily funded by an excise tax on vaccines collected from vaccine manufacturers.
Victims who believe they have experienced a vaccine-related injury can file a vaccine injury claim with the VICP. The program covers various vaccines highlighted above, as approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The process involves submitting medical records and other pertinent documents to support the claim.
The VICP operations regarding vaccine claims are overseen by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Firstly, you will file your compensation claim with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Then, the court-appointed special master reviews the claim. If they find that the claimant’s injury is compensable under the program’s guidelines, compensation is awarded.
GBS claims can be filed on behalf of the victims, children, or the deceased by either:
- Legal representative
- Legal guardians
The amount of compensation may vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, the victims have a right to appeal the court decision. Additionally, you may refuse a settlement if you feel that the amount does not properly cover your damages.
I Got Guillain-Barré Syndrome, What To Do Next?
Receiving a GBS diagnosis is challenging, but your vaccine injury lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to increase your chances of recovery.
Here is what you should do next after diagnosis with GBS:
- Hire a Vaccine Injury Lawyer to File Your Claim: If you suspect that your GBS may be related to a vaccine you received, it is in your best interest to consult with a vaccine injury lawyer. Your attorney has experience handling cases involving vaccine-related injuries and can provide legal guidance throughout the claim process. Your lawyer will assess your situation, determine the eligibility of your case, and assist you in filing a claim.
- Get a Copy of Your Vaccine Record: Next, obtain a copy of your vaccine record. This record serves as evidence to support your claim and can help establish a connection between the vaccine and the onset of GBS. Your vaccine record contains essential information about the type of vaccine you received, the date of vaccination, and where it was administered. This link is necessary when proving injuries and causation in GBS-related cases.
- Get a Copy of Your First Doctor’s Visit for GBS Symptoms: Your first doctor’s visit that unearthed GBS symptoms is so important. This medical record provides essential information regarding the onset of GBS and a healthcare professional’s initial assessment of your condition. It can serve as medical evidence in your claim.
- Files Your Claim in the VICP: The next step is to file your claim with the VICP. A lawyer who handles cases related to vaccine side effects can help you submit the necessary documentation and advocate for your case. To qualify for filing a vaccine compensation claim, you must have endured an injury for the last six months or underwent surgical intervention. Preserve important records to help prove such timelines.
How a Lawyer Can Help if You Suffer Guillain-Barré
From our years of experience, we have noted that dealing with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) can be physically, emotionally, and financially tasking. You want to focus on recovery and protect your legal rights in such situations. Hiring an attorney can make a substantial difference in addressing your needs and securing your required support.
Here are ways in which a lawyer can help:
Free Case Evaluation
The first step in seeking compensation for vaccination injuries is case evaluation. A vaccine injury attorney will review the details of your situation to determine the strength of your GBS-related case. They will assess factors such as the timing of your diagnosis, any potential vaccine-related factors, and the impact of GBS on your life. This evaluation helps you understand the viability of your case and what to expect.
Submitting an Insurance Claim
If your GBS diagnosis has resulted in an injury, your attorney will help you submit a claim file to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. They will navigate the legal process and ensure your claim is accurate and complete. Additionally, they ensure the claim is filed within the proper timeline, i.e., three years from the date you discovered GBS injury or two years from the time of death.
Appealing GBS Injury Claim Denial
Sometimes, the court-appointed ‘special master’ may deny your GBS injury claim. When this happens, an attorney can help you in appealing the denial. They understand the landscape of the appeals process and can build a strong case to demonstrate that your GBS condition warrants compensation.
Negotiating a Lump-Sum Settlement
Vaccine injury attorneys are mostly skilled negotiators. They can engage with the relevant parties to secure a good lump-sum settlement on your behalf. This lump sum usually reflects your losses and should indemnify you with financial relief during a challenging time.
What’s best is that you receive the full settlement amount. No fees are involved, and you won’t be required to pay the lawyer anything. The standard procedure is that you get to keep 100 percent of the money awarded to you.
Appealing Court Decisions
If your GBS-related claim doesn’t yield a satisfactory settlement or is denied, an attorney can effectively appeal the decision and represent your interests. They provide compelling evidence and argue on your behalf to secure a favorable outcome.
Experienced Legal Representation
The key to successfully addressing the challenges presented by GBS is having experienced legal representation. An attorney specializing in vaccine-related injuries and disability claims has the full knowledge and expertise to navigate the legal and medical complexities of GBS cases successfully. Their experience will ensure your rights are protected so that you can get adequate compensation.
Contact a Vaccine Injury Attorney Today
Securing legal representation is key in protecting your rights in the event of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) injuries. These cases often involve government agencies set up to handle compensation claims, and navigating the complexities of these processes can be challenging for victims.
At our law firm, we have secured substantial settlements for our GBS clients. Moreover, there is no contingency fee to share with your lawyer. If you’ve been affected by GBS, take the next important step in safeguarding your rights. Contact us today, and we will thoroughly review your case at no charge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Type of Doctor Diagnoses Guillain-Barre?
Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is diagnosed by a neurologist. The diagnosis requires professional knowledge of handling conditions that affect the nervous system. Diagnosing GBS often involves a thorough clinical evaluation, nerve conduction studies, and lumbar punctures to assess cerebrospinal fluid. These processes are important when it comes to pricing claims for GBS injuries.
Do People Fully Recover From Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Full recovery from GBS varies from person to person. Some victims may completely recover, while others experience residual weakness or neurological symptoms. Recovery is greatly dependent on the severity of the initial symptoms. An attorney can help you recover damages based on the severity of your symptoms.
What Is the Biggest Concern for Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
One of the most significant concerns in Guillain-Barré Syndrome is the potential for paralysis of the muscles that control breathing. Severe cases of GBS can lead to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, and, in some tragic instances, death. If a victim succumbs to GBS, an attorney can assist in seeking compensation to cover funeral expenses and support the family during the difficult time.
How Much Will I Receive for the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Claim?
The amount you may receive for a GBS claim varies with the severity of your condition. An attorney who specializes in GBS cases can assess your situation and determine the potential compensation you may be entitled to. However, you will receive 100% of your settlement since no contingency fees are involved.