Making a Compensation Claim for Meningitis

Author:
Geoffrey Simpson-Scott
Partner, Medical Negligence Claims
Date:
28/03/2019

If you believe the medical treatment you received for meningitis was inadequate or negligent, you may be able to make a claim for compensation on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Were the symptoms of meningitis missed, delaying your treatment and leading to further complications, health problems or disability? Was your meningitis allowed to get worse and led to debilitating after-effects?

Meningitis can kill within hours. It’s not uncommon for a child or a family member who wasn’t diagnosed with meningitis and treated in time to die as a result.

For free legal advice get in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors and we will help you.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

Claim Time Limit

You have 3 years from either the date your condition was diagnosed, or from when the adverse effects it has led to were discovered, to make your claim.

If your child was affected, this 3-year limit doesn’t start until their 18th birthday. Until then, you must make the claim on their behalf. If your child is classed as a Protected Party and doesn’t have the capacity to conduct proceedings, the 3-year limit won’t apply.

Why Should I Make a Claim for Meningitis?

A successful medical negligence meningitis claim isn’t just about getting compensation. With the right compensation settlement, you’ll be in a better position to cope with any ongoing physical or emotional problems caused by your meningitis symptoms.

Furthermore, a successful claim can help to raise awareness of meningitis and the errors that led to your claim. In turn, the chances of mistakes being repeated with other patients can be reduced, and if this helps to prevent even one person suffering from meningitis; it’s well worth it.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis occurs when the protective layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord, known as meninges, become enflamed. This is caused by germs entering the body and infecting those delicate membranes.

The two main types of meningitis in the UK result from either viral or bacterial infections.

What is Bacterial Meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is the most serious of the two and can be fatal if left undiagnosed and untreated. Prompt admission to hospital is therefore needed to reduce its effects.

What is Viral Meningitis?

Viral meningitis is rarely life-threatening and seldom contagious, but presents similar symptoms to the bacterial form of the condition. Most patients go on to make a full recovery, although some are left with resulting after-effects such as memory loss or exhaustion.

What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?

Meningitis has a tendency to develop without warning; its symptoms manifesting quickly and with a rapid degree of debilitation.

Meningitis symptoms can include:

      • Stiff neck
      • Headaches
      • Aversion to light
      • Leg pain
      • Confusion
      • Feverish temperature

A rash that doesn't fade when pressure is applied to it (usually with a glass) is also an indicator of meningitis, although this doesn’t always manifest.

Who Can Catch Meningitis?

Anybody can develop meningitis, but children under 5 and young people in the 15 to 19 age bracket are most likely to get the disease. Elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are also more vulnerable to contracting meningitis.

The condition is mostly spread through contact with a carrier - somebody who’s carrying the disease but isn't ill with it themselves. It can be transferred in similar ways to a cold, such as sneezing, coughing and kissing.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Meningitis?

If you or a loved one is feeling extremely and suddenly ill and displaying any of the symptoms associated with meningitis, there’s a possibility that you or they have the disease.

If this is the case, you should seek immediate medical attention, either by calling an ambulance or going to your local Accident & Emergency department. The NHS advises that you trust your instinct and not wait for a rash to develop. It could save your life.

What Complications Can Arise from Meningitis?

Aside from the potential to kill, meningitis can also have a range of life-changing after-effects that can be seriously detrimental to your quality of life. These include:

        • Memory loss and associated cognitive issues such as difficulty in concentrating or retaining information
        • A lack of coordination
        • Blindness or blurred vision
        • Deafness and problems with balance
        • Headaches and seizures
        • Paralysis, muscle fatigue or lack of energy
        • Speech problems

In some cases the after-effects of meningitis are permanent; in others they’re only temporary. Recovery time for temporary issues varies from patient to patient.

Why is it Important to Get Immediate Medical Attention?

1 in 10 cases of bacterial meningitis prove fatal. It also causes more fatalities in the under-5 age group than any other infectious disease. Even the ordinarily less serious strain of viral meningitis can have life-changing consequences as a result of its after-effects; so the sooner it’s diagnosed and treatment begins, the greater the chances of survival and full recovery.

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