Facebook Live on Guillain-Barré Syndrome in the NVICP
Anne Toale: Hi. Welcome to our talk about getting compensation in the vaccine injury compensation program for a rare vaccine reaction known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, or GBS. This is a rare disease, but its association with vaccination is well known. I’m Anne Toale and I’m a partner at mctlaw, a nationwide law firm representing people injured by medical products.
I have been representing people injured by vaccinations for 17 years, day in and day out. I have three of my partners here with me today, and so I’ll let them introduce themselves.
Danielle Strait: Hi, my name is Danielle Strait. I’m an attorney in Maglio Christopher and Toale’s Seattle, Washington office. I’ve been representing people with vaccine related injuries for about eight years now, and for the three years prior to that, I worked as a law clerk at the us court of federal claims, which is the court that hears these cases.
I’m very passionate about the work that we do, and I’m really glad to be with you all today teaching you about the program and about GBS.
Diana Stadelnikas: Hi everybody, my name is Diana. I work in the vaccine team. I’ve been on the vaccine team about 10 years. I work in the Florida office. I come to the practice of law with a background as a pediatric critical care nurse and like my partners, i’m also very passionate about the work that we do and the program that we’re working in.
Isaiah Kalinowski: Hi everyone. My name is Isaiah Kalinowski. Like Danielle. I worked at the court that hears these cases for about four years. And since 2010 I’ve been in their Washington DC office, which is about two blocks away from that court representing vaccine petitioners every day since then.
Anne Toale: Thanks, Isaiah. So today we’re talking about a specific condition Guillain-Barré syndrome, like I mentioned before, and how we can help you get compensation for GBS. But take a look at our website, mctlaw.com, where we have a list of all kinds of other conditions that can be caused potentially by vaccination.
, and that way you can find out, what other conditions when we might be able to help you with. But GBS basically is an auto immune disorder. And what that means is your body’s immune system gets confused and starts attacking itself. And so this will look like your feet and your hands, your legs and your arms are slowly becoming paralyzed and even your lungs potentially, and you might stop breathing.
So depending on how severe that is, usually you’ll end up in the emergency room. And if you get care right away, and a proper diagnosis, then you can hopefully have a pretty good outcome from your GBS. But other people don’t have such a good outcome and they actually end up in a wheelchair for the rest of their life.
So there’s some variation with that. , Danielle, what are some vaccines that can be associated with GBS?
Danielle Strait: That’s a great question. And so the vaccine injury program itself looks at many different vaccines and vaccine related injuries. As you said, some of those vaccines are going to be influenza or your annual flu shot.
The hep shot hepatitis A, B, MMR. Tetanus shots, which are also called T dap or Dtap, meningococcal, polio, and HPV. But the vaccines that we see most commonly associated with Guillain-Barré and where we represent the most clients are going to be your influenza vaccine. The tetanus and tdap vaccine and also your hepatitis B vaccine.
I think one of the things that is confusing because this isn’t a well known disease until you get it, is that relationship. A lot of my clients end up with their primary care doctor or with urgent care. And while the doctors are taking a history, it comes to light that they’ve had a vaccine shortly before onset of those neurological symptoms.
But a lot of my clients are either told it’s not related to those vaccines or they do Googling. They’re on their own and they find out that there could be a relationship and they contact us. So it’s very important for people who think that there is a relationship between the GBS, that they get a vaccine.
They had. To contact the law firm like ours or get on our website, www.mctlaw.com and check out the information we have for therapy for folks.
Anne Toale: Right? I mean, that’s a good point. And what I see in a lot of my cases involving GBS is that primary care doctors, not so much, but in when people are in the hospital and a neurologist comes to see them and they’re considering what could be wrong with you, because you’re suddenly becoming paralyzed.
And when they start thinking about GBS. Usually neurologist actually will ask how you gotten any vaccines in the past several weeks because it is just, it’s one of the more well known vaccine reactions that can happen and that’s, you know, that’s pretty well established. So
Diana Stadelnikas: I’m sorry, I just want to, one thing to point out too is that it’s not a disease that’s limited just to adults either.
GBS is a disease that also impacts infants and children as well.
Anne Toale: That’s right. We had a really significant GBS case in the firm that, and actually went to trial that involved a baby. , and the defense was, GBS doesn’t happen in babies. , but we won that case and got that kid a very, very sizable, very sizable where it actually, that was life changing for him.
, so Isaiah, I’m going to ask you to talk about earlier, you mentioned that you previously worked in the vaccine court. And so tell us more about that because there is just one court where all the vaccine claims are. Are brought for the whole country. And we, we practice all over the country and meaning we represent people from all over the country.
So, but we all go to that one vaccine court in DC where you worked. And so tell us how that works.
Isaiah Kalinowski: That’s right, Anne. Thanks for, thanks for that. , the court is in, in Washington DC and hears all vaccine cases for the whole country. , the court does travel, as needed sometimes, to where people live, but it is in DC and claims have to be brought to this court.
They cannot be brought in other courts, whether federal or state. , it is administered as a no fault compensation program in which we’re pursuing compensation out of a federal fund that’s funded by vaccines. So it’s no fault. We’re not suing anyone’s doctors. We’re not suing pharmacies. So, you don’t need to worry about that.
And in addition, we don’t require anything from you upfront. , some paperwork, some information, but you do not need to pay anything upfront to us. And at the end of the case, when you’re compensated, we do not take anything from your amount of compensation. , our, our fees are paid after the fact by the court as part of this compensation program.
. But the important thing I want to reiterate and is that we, you must act quickly because the one aspect of this being a federal program is there is a very hard deadline to claims. So if you, a person thinks they’ve experienced the vaccine related, adverse reaction, they need to contact us or someone like us, very soon thereafter.
Anne Toale: That’s right, Isaiah. Diana, I want to ask you about what’s it like representing people with GBS? I mean, firstly, what kinds of, what kinds of ways are people’s lives impacted by having GBS?
Diana Stadelnikas: I could probably talk for hours on that, but I’ll try to be quick.
, I think, you know, our goal is to try to get folks who are severe.
Some, some, some folks are not injured. They recover from GBS fairly quickly. Some folks, I have one client. Gentlemen who in his mid-forties was a breadwinner of the family who was paralyzed from GBS and ended up in a wheelchair unable to work again. , through the program, we were able to get him, recovery.
, the wage replacement, as we talked about before, we were able to get him into, a new residence that’s was accessible for his,
his life, which was now limited to a power scooter, which we also got through the [00:09:40] program. , a modified, accessible, wheelchair van, so that he could get around with his family and also, home health services so that his wife could
get some help with the care that he needed.
Anne Toale: , it sounds like that really made a difference in that person in my family’s lives. , so. Oh, that brings me to the point where a lot of people ask us, you know, right at the beginning, a lot of clients ask what, well, how much is my case worth? Like how much money are you going to be able to get from me?
And obviously the answer to that as well, it depends. It depends how, how severe your injury is. Like you were just saying, Diana, some people recover really well and don’t, don’t really miss out on that much, and other people are, are way worse off than others. So Danielle, what would you, how would you answer that question?
Like what’s my case for it’s how much can I get.
Danielle Strait: You’re right, and that is one of the most common kind of first questions that people ask us. I always think of it as three different buckets of money. One for lost wages because of the vaccine injury, one for out of pocket medical expenses, both past and future.
And then another, some for pain and suffering, which has kept, which we’ll talk about. But I have a client in the Midwest. He was an insurance agent, kind of a middle of the road case, but he had a lot of residual damages because of the GBS. A lot of fatigue and a lot of neuropathic symptoms that the numbness and tingling wasn’t able to get around quite as much.
So he did go out of work, but he was able to return part time. He had great insurance, so no out of pocket medical expenses. So that bucket was really empty for him. But as far as lost wages, he was able to get his past lost wages and also as some for future lost wages, which allowed him to remain part time because of the GBS symptoms he was left with.
And then with the amount for pain and suffering, and he was about a $350,000 case. So a good s of money to get him to a point where, you know, you still have those symptoms, but he’s able to provide for his family and still kind of go on living a happy and fulfilling life. And it was really meaningful.
Anne Toale: Right, right. Isaiah, what, what about a case where someone is, you know, essentially a quadriplegic and they really don’t recover at all? I mean, they, they have insurance, so that’s paying for some things, but, . How can the program help with, you know, home care and future medicals, like for people like that?
Isaiah Kalinowski: Well, that the asset and the, the pro, the act specifically provides for therapies and that includes vocational and occupational therapies as well as home modifications as necessary. And some of those therapies, you know, are sort of, it can be very tailored to the person, equine therapies and water therapies.
And. , and Diana has had a lot of experience with that. , and you know, it, it really depends on the case. And we, we really explore every month we’re representing someone to see what’s going to help them the best
Diana Stadelnikas: I say. I think, I’m sorry. And I think you brought up a good point. I stay at that. The one key about the program and, and the experience that we’ve all brought to the program is that these awards and, and what you can get for the clients to make them bring them back to their new normal, in dealing with it.
With right. Is that it’s so individualized and, and we try to, we try to work, we work with the clients closely to find out what is it that they specifically need to make their new life as normal as possible when dealing with the and variety. It’s very, very individual specific.
Anne Toale: Right? I mean, because some people are so debilitated by this, then they need lifetime care and potentially even near round the clock care.
And that, which is great because that way it takes the burden off the spouse and other family members of having to care for them. And you can have someone like that come into your home and help with bathing and dressing and just everything, all the regular life activities that they’re having a hard time
Isaiah Kalinowski: One thing is we don’t want to encourage, we don’t want to discourage people who don’t have the catastrophic. , I’ll come like that because we can help people who have moderate outcomes as well. It’s worth it. So people kind of asked me, is it even worth it to file a petition? If I have to pay something, it’s going to be a lot of work.
You’re going to take a cut. Why? Why is it even worth it? But because as I said a minute ago, we don’t, we aren’t taking anything out of this. It is worth it. I just had settled a case the other day of someone that was less than a hundred thousand dollars total compensation because they didn’t, they weren’t put on their back. They were, it was a different kind of GBS that affected their face and their, and their eyes more. They had to wear glasses. They had, you know, it was a different type of case and it was a different kind of outcome, but it was still worth it for him to pursue the outcome that we achieved for him.
Anne Toale: Right? I mean, cause it’s a significant injury, you know, for everyone, even if they have a good outcome. So I agree with you. I think people even with milder cases should still contact us and we can get them something and everyone can use that extra money right now. I think so. Okay. Questions are coming in.
So, let’s see. So Danielle, the first question is, can I hire my own lawyer who I know, I know personal injury lawyer and he does injury law.
Danielle Strait: That’s a question that I think our firm, because of the amount of vaccine injury compensation program experience we have, we hear a lot. And often it’s a situation where they have hired a local attorney, someone they know, and when that attorney gets into the program and realizes it’s a very nuanced program, they realized they might be in over their head. I think we would always recommend to find an attorney who’s very well versed in the vaccine injury program. Not only are they the injuries themselves, they can be very complex, but the program, it’s not your typical civil litigation, I’m going to the courthouse in the County kind of work.
So it really pays off to have somebody that’s experienced and, and, and I would always jp on our website, mctlaw.com and you can check out all of the experience that our attorneys have in the vaccine injury compensation program.
Anne Toale: Right. That’s a good point. We, all of our information is on the website and people should look at that and, and definitely look for an attorney like all of us, or someone like us.
But we are only doing vaccine cases. We’re not doing medical malpractice. We’re not doing car crashes. We’re not doing anything else. We literally just specialize in these cases. And so. You probably want to have the advantage of, of, of a specialist for your case. Another question is, I just found out about this program, but my reaction was over five years ago, Diana.
Diana Stadelnikas: Unfortunately, that time is to get the time to bring that claim has passed. , I would call, I would urge someone, if you do think that you’ve had a vaccine injury or you know, someone who might be suffering from a vaccine injury to please contact our firm or another vaccine injured firm and, and talk to them about your case.
There’s a very limited timeframe and there’s, there’s very little ways around that set timeframe to bring your case act quickly.
Anne Toale: That’s right. It’s that getting calls from people who just didn’t know about the vaccine program, it’s not very well publicized. And like I said earlier, not, not a lot of them.
A lot of doctors or lawyers are aware of it, so, so that is unfortunate. , let’s see. Here’s another question. , Isaiah, you touched on this a little earlier, but the question is, what are you guys going to ask me for when I call you on the phone? Like, what, what do you need from me?
Isaiah Kalinowski: That’s a great question.
And thanks for asking that. Why we need a lot of information that pertains to the things we were just talking about. What are your lost earnings? What is the documentation to substantiate that?
But just to start though, and well, just for a bit of background, I think you mentioned this a minute ago, but we do, we will need to collect all these, their medical records, so we’re going to need their medical history.
But this program, the proceedings are private, meaning the, this is not a public proceeding. Someone can’t go to the courthouse and get your file. In these cases, sealed. The only thing that is will give them public information is the court’s decision at the end. , and so that is something there. But everything else, your records, everything you provide to us, we only provide to the court what’s necessary.
And the court only, and the court keeps that sealed as well. So it is a very private and, but there is specific information we asked for. It has to do with financial, the medical, that sort of background information we need to help the person. But initially we really just need to see your vaccine record and some records that show what diagnosis you have.
Anne Toale: Just to get an idea if it’s something we can help with at all.
But Danielle, I got another question that just came in for you and it’s how long is my case going to take? , whether it’s a settlement or to go to trial or just get it, get some money.
Danielle Strait: That’s a great question. It’s another, one of the questions were asked right off the bat with clients.
I would say, you know, with uncomplicated cases right now, from the time that we file them, and until the time that they actually have compensation in hand, it can be anywhere from two to two and a half years, sometimes even three years. But a lot of our clients, because we have so much experience, because we take such complex cases, you know, there’s a lot more process involved.
We do have to go to trial. We have to get experts involved. Cases like that that are more complex can take anywhere from three, five, sometimes even 10 years. So with any government program, it is not a fast process, but we’re here to help people through it and try to make it as painless as possible.
Anne Toale: Right, right.
Thanks for that. Well, that’s almost all the time we have for today. I want to thank everybody for listening in and learning some more about Guillain-Barré, about the vaccine compensation program and about mctlaw. , I just want to remind you, to go visit our website, mctlaw.com, the question about how much money is my case worth.
There’s a lot of information on our site about amounts that we’ve recovered for other clients, and. They’re listed by injury, so you can see what a typical GBS settlement would be like, or other auto immune disorders that we deal with. , so lots of examples there that you can read about. , so I’m going to say good night and thank you for coming in.
Danielle Strait: Yeah. Thanks for being with us. It’s been great being here and talking with you all. And like everybody’s said, if you think that you have a vaccine related injury, give us a call. We’re here to help.
Diana Stadelnikas: Good night, everybody. Thanks for joining us. And again, like everyone said, if you do think you’re injured, please contact us.
This program is really the only mechanism and Avenue for you to get the help that you need and we’re here to help you
Isaiah Kalinowski: Thank you for me as well. I look forward to meeting you. If you do end up contacting us.
Danielle Strait: Good night, everybody.
Anne Toale: Good night. Goodbye.