What Happens If a Loved One Passed From COVID-19 Related Care?
Over 185,000 Americans and counting have lost their lives battling COVID-19. Health care providers have fought hard for patients and the Government has granted them, along with vaccine manufacturers, broad immunity from liability. However, victims and their families do have a remedy. They can file for compensation without disrupting any provider/patient relations, and without taxing the court. This compensation can be paid from the Countermeasure Injury Compensation Program, a fund established as part of the Federal PREP Act (“CICP”). If a person has received certain types of defined medical treatment that resulted in his/her death, his/her family may be able to recover a death benefit from the CICP in the amount of $365,670. These claims made against the CICP fund do not impact Providers or their malpractice insurance and are not a lawsuit.
Many have asked, what exactly is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program?
It is a government-funded program created by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (“PREP Act”) and managed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to compensate families who have lost a loved one as a direct result of receiving a “covered countermeasure” in connection with COVID-19 treatment. As only a “Covered Countermeasure” will be considered an eligible treatment under the CICP, it is important to understand exactly what that means. A Covered Countermeasure is broadly defined and while there are too many to list, they include prescription drugs, biological products or devices authorized through investigational or emergency use to treat COVID-19.
Our attorneys are continually monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 and its treatment. Our clinician attorneys, which include a nurse, paramedic, podiatrist and pharmacists, are able to identify the countermeasure treatments used to better determine whether they fall within the definition of a “Covered Countermeasure”. It is important to understand that unfortunately, CICP may only approve a request after it determines that a Covered Countermeasure was used, and that the death was a direct result of the covered countermeasure. If a Covered Countermeasure was not used, the CICP is unable to approve the Request for Benefits.
What happens next?
In order to submit a Request for Benefits, the CICP requires that you complete an official Request for Benefits Form and provide it with a death certificate and comprehensive medical records. CICP may request other documents if necessary, to help determine whether to issue benefits. Frier Levitt intends to utilize its experienced attorneys to complete the Benefits Form, review medical records, and submit documentation to substantiate the claim. Frier Levitt will also rely on medical experts where necessary.
One thing we want to make sure everyone understands is that time is of the essence. You only have 1 year from the administration of the Covered Countermeasure (not date of death) to file a Request for Benefits.
There is often confusion about whether the CICP is a lawsuit. The answer is no, the CICP does not involve filing a lawsuit and it is not a claim against medical providers. It is strictly a benefit offered by the Federal Government to those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 treatment. These cases are not filed in Court. CICP Requests are made to a government review board and do not require a court filing or appearance. Unlike a lawsuit, CICP Requests do not require any claim of wrongdoing against another person or business. CICP’s sole focus is to compensate families who have lost a loved one as a direct result of COVID-19 treatment. That being said, the process for completing the claims forms and gathering supporting information can be confusing and time consuming, so it should be properly prepared by an attorney. In addition, by hiring our firm, we will be able to significantly limit the work you will have to do and your involvement in the process.
If the Request for Benefits is approved, how much can you receive?
If the Request for Benefits is approved, CICP can award a death benefit of $365,670 to a surviving family member for the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19 treatment. The CICP also provides up to $50,000 in unreimbursed lost wages, as well as reimbursement of out of pocket medical expenses.
Its important to understand exactly who can make a Request for Benefits?
Generally, only a surviving family member may request benefits. CICP provides priority to requests made first by the surviving spouse, followed by the surviving children and/or minor younger than the age of 18, then the beneficiary of the most recent life insurance policy, parents, and the legal guardian of a deceased minor.
How Frier Levitt can help and why you should consider using an attorney to file your claim
While you are not required to have an attorney, the process for submitting and substantiating a claim can be complicated, emotional and time consuming, thus warranting the retention of a dedicated and knowledgeable healthcare lawyer. Before the CICP can award benefits, it must first determine that the death or injury was a direct result of covered countermeasure treatment received for COVID-19. This requires proof based on compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence. The CICP review board has staff doctors and medical professionals that complete a complex review of the medical records and documents submitted.
Frier Levitt is uniquely situated to assist with your Request for Benefits because our clinician attorneys have extensive experience reading and reviewing medical records and determining and documenting the causal connection required to prevail on the claim. As a result, our lawyers can help prove to the CICP, based on compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence, that the death was a direct result of a covered countermeasure, and that you are entitled to compensation.
Frier Levitt is offering its legal services on a “contingency fee” arrangement which means that you do not pay any legal fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation from the CICP. Contact Frier Levitt today to speak with an attorney who can assist you or call 866-PREPACT (866-773-7228).