Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints.  The lining of the affected joint(s) become inflamed causing pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, and warmth.  The anatomical areas most commonly affected include the small joints in the hands, feet and wrists, as well as joints of the elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  Chronic Inflammation and swelling can result in bone erosion and joint deformity. It can also damage other organs such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. 

Commonly reported symptoms include pain and stiffness, redness, swelling, warmth of the affected joints.  Morning stiffness is noted by many patients.  Typically, symptoms evolve over an extended period of time, though rapid onset of symptoms has been reported. RA is a chronic disease with alternating periods of inflammation and pain (“flare”) and subsidence of symptoms (“remission”)

The cause of RA is unknown.  However genetic predisposition along with environmental factors such as infections may act to trigger the disease.  There is no known cure for RA.  Recent developments suggest remission of symptoms is more likely when treatment begins early with disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (“DMARDs”).  The goal of treatment is to achieve the lowest level of arthritic disease activity to minimize joint damage and relieve pain.


Capizzano v. Secretary of Health and Human Services was the first case which granted compensation for the onset of a rheumatic disease, specifically, Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”), after the Hepatitis B vaccine.  

For more information about this and other representative cases tried by Attorney Chin-Caplan, click here or see her Representative Cases above.

Representative Case