Most people who contract meningitis make a full recovery. However, if it is not spotted and treated quickly, the effects can be life-changing and, in some cases, fatal. If a medical professional fails to diagnose meningitis and you or a loved one suffers as a result, you may be eligible to make a meningitis claim for compensation. This article about meningitis compensation claims will look at how the claims process works and the types of negligence that can occur.
Our team know the impact meningitis can have on you and your loved ones. That’s why we offer a no-obligation consultation where you can discuss claiming compensation. You’ll receive free legal advice about what to do next and we could appoint a medical negligence solicitor from our team on a No Win No Fee basis if the claim appears to be strong enough. If that happens, your solicitor will manage everything for you and you won’t pay for their work unless you are compensated.
For more information about meningitis negligence claims, please continue reading or call us on 0800 6524 881 to speak with a specialist.
Table of contents
- What Is Meningitis?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Meningitis Negligence Claim?
- What Complications Can Meningitis Cause?
- What Types Of Medical Negligence Could Lead To Meningitis Claims?
- How Much Compensation For Meningitis Could I Claim?
- What Evidence Could Be Used To Support A Meningitis Claim?
- What’s The Time Limit For Claiming Meningitis Compensation?
- How Long Does A Meningitis Claim Take?
- Starting The Meningitis Negligence Claims Process
According to the NHS, meningitis is an infection of the meninges (the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). It is usually a viral or bacterial infection spread by coughing, sneezing and kissing. Bacterial meningitis is the more serious but rarer condition.
Anybody can catch meningitis but it mostly affects babies, children, teenagers and young adults. Life-threatening meningococcal septicemia (blood poisoning) can be caused by meningitis which can also cause permanent nerve or brain damage.
Importantly, the symptoms of meningitis can occur very rapidly and can include:
- Neck stiffness.
- A rash that doesn’t fade or clear when a glass is rolled over it (although you won’t always see a rash).
- Fits (seizures).
- An adverse reaction to bright lights.
The NHS says that if you believe that your child has meningitis, you should call 999 or visit A&E immediately.
It’s important to point out that GPs and doctors in hospitals usually get things right and manage to diagnose meningitis correctly. However, you could be eligible to make a meningitis negligence claim if:
- A medical professional (doctor, nurse, paediatrician etc) failed to diagnose meningitis correctly (negligence); and
- You or a loved one suffered as a result (causation).
For meningitis claims, medical negligence solicitors will typically ask an independent specialist to investigate the treatment provided. If they believe that things should’ve been done differently, your solicitor may agree to seek compensation for any suffering that resulted.
As well as the symptoms listed earlier, meningitis can lead to much more serious complications. They can include:
- Partial or complete hearing loss.
- Balance and movement problems.
- Memory issues.
- Partial or full loss of vision.
- Behavioural problems.
- Kidney problems.
- Arthritis and other joint issues.
- Loss of limbs (performed to prevent the spread of infection).
Each of the issues listed can have a massive impact on the rest of your child’s life. In some meningitis claims, a lump sum may be awarded followed by annual payments to cover care and medical costs.
A confirmed diagnosis of meningitis will usually be treated in a hospital and could involve a stay of a few days or weeks. Antibiotics may be administered into the vein and fluids via a drip might be used to avoid dehydration. Steroids may be prescribed as well to try and reduce any swelling in the brain.
Any delay in treatment could be deemed as medical negligence and could lead to a compensation claim if that delay made the suffering worse. If you believe this to be true in your case, please let us know by calling our team today.
As set out previously, you could claim meningitis compensation for any suffering caused by medical negligence. That means that you may be eligible to begin a claim if:
- A doctor failed to carry out a physical examination to look for the signs of meningitis.
- Your condition was misdiagnosed as something initially else so the correct treatment was delayed.
- A blood test, CT scan or lumbar puncture was not carried out to confirm a meningitis diagnosis.
- Test results were misunderstood meaning treatment was delayed.
Knowing that you or a child has suffered from meningitis is upsetting enough. However, that upset can be compounded if you’ve found out that the suffering could’ve been reduced or prevented but for medical negligence.
If you believe that you should be compensated because of suffering caused by medical negligence, please get in touch and we’ll review your options for free.
When a child suffers from meningitis because of medical negligence, they cannot make a compensation claim until they are 18 years old. However, they may have medical and care needs that need to be paid for before then.
Fortunately, the litigation friend process allows a parent or responsible adult to claim compensation on behalf of a child. A solicitor from our team can help to arrange this for you. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll be able to make decisions and instruct the solicitor on behalf of your child.
The main difference in this type of claim is that any settlement offer must first be approved by a court. If the claim is settled, the funds will be managed in a court account that can release funds when needed to support your child.
Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about making a meningitis compensation claim for your child.
Any meningitis claim should cover any suffering that the claimant has already endured plus any that will occur in the future. Also, claims will need to look at any ongoing financial implications. Therefore, if your claim does proceed, it should consider the following:
- Any physical symptoms (pain, suffering, discomfort and disabilities).
- Mental harm caused by meningitis such as depression and anxiety.
- Loss of amenity i.e. any activities that are prevented because of the illness.
- The cost of a carer and respite costs.
- Medical expenses and rehabilitation costs.
- Travel expenses (for medical appointments for example).
- Loss of income (including long-term future losses).
- Modifications to your vehicle and home that make it easier to cope with any ongoing disabilities caused by meningitis.
To try and ensure that you receive the maximum level of compensation for meningitis possible, your solicitor will build a full picture of how you’ve been affected before filing your claim.
To ascertain how much compensation for meningitis might be awarded, an independent medical assessment will usually need to be performed too. This will be conducted by a qualified medical expert whose report will outline the claimant’s prognosis.
The types of evidence that a solicitor might use to support a meningitis claim include:
- Medical records. These can be used to show your initial diagnosis by your doctor and the treatment you received.
- A personal statement. Your solicitor may suggest writing a personal statement to explain how having meningitis has affected your life, both working and socially.
- Complaints. Making a formal complaint to the NHS won’t result in compensation being paid but it could help in highlighting what went wrong. We’d advise discussing this with a medical negligence solicitor to see if a complaint would be useful as part of a claim.
- Financial records. Any costs or expenses linked to your meningitis diagnosis could be claimed back so provide wage slips, receipts, invoices and bank statements where possible.
- Photos/videos. Any photos or videos of rashes or other visible symptoms of meningitis can provide important visual evidence to support your claim.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor might also ask any friends or family to provide a statement if they had noticed any signs or symptoms of meningitis.
If your claim is taken on, your solicitor will try to secure as much evidence to support your claim as possible. If you’ve collected any already, please let your advisor know when you call for your free initial consultation.
Medical negligence claims in the UK have a 3-year time limit that typically begins from the date of the negligence or the date you became aware of it. However, if the meningitis claim is for a child, their time limit doesn’t begin until their 18th birthday. Therefore, an adult is able to claim at any point before that date.
It is probably best to start a meningitis negligence claim sooner rather than later because it will often be easier to secure the evidence (medical records, complaint responses, financial records etc) to support the claim.
If you’d like to begin a meningitis claim for you or your child, please let us know and we’ll review your options straight away.
Where the claimant’s prognosis is not fully understood, meningitis claims might not be settled for several years, whereas straightforward claims might be settled within a year. It really depends on the specific circumstances of the case. However, starting the claims process sooner rather than later could allow for interim payments to be made to cover the cost of care, lost earnings and other costs.
The best way to find out how long a claim might take is to contact us so that a medical negligence solicitor from our team can discuss everything that’s happened with you.
You shouldn’t be put off from claiming because you’re worried about the cost of hiring a specialist medical negligence solicitor. That’s because those on our team provide a No Win No Fee service for any meningitis claim they work on. As that reduces your financial risk massively, in our opinion, it should make the claims process a lot less stressful.
The No Win No Fee service essentially means:
- There are no upfront legal fees to pay.
- Legal fees will not be payable if the claim fails.
We’re ready to help if you’ve got any questions about meningitis negligence claims. To speak with a specialist, call 0800 6524 881 and ask for a free consultation. There’s no obligation to proceed and you’ll receive free advice no matter what you decide to do.
If you decide to claim, your solicitor will do all they can to try and ensure you are compensated fairly. Remember, the No Win No Fee service means no legal fees will apply unless compensation is awarded.
For more advice on the process of making a meningitis negligence claim, please feel free to use our live chat service.