Making a meningitis negligence claim
If you are thinking about making a meningitis claim then our experienced team of medical negligence lawyers are here to help. We represent patients nationwide and can work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
What is meningitis?
Often associated with young children, meningitis is an infection of the protective membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It is an infection that can affect anyone, at any age. Meningitis is an extremely serious condition that can, at its very worst, be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
The NHS website identifies the symptoms of meningitis as including:
- high temperature (fever)
- rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)
- stiff neck
- dislike of bright lights
- drowsiness or unresponsiveness
- seizures (fits)
Meningitis is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, usually carried in the nose or throat and can be spread through sneezing or coughing. The carrier may not even know that they have it or show any symptoms themselves.
While meningitis can be prevented through vaccination, it is widely accepted that quick diagnosis and treatment increases the likelihood of a good outcome for the patient. While most patients make a full recovery, the condition can result in significant long-term health problems, including brain injury, loss of hearing and vision, epilepsy and amputation.
Diagnosing and treating meningitis
Meningitis is an illness that can be difficult to diagnose as not all symptoms present together, and some may not appear at all.
Where there is a possibility of life hanging in the balance, it is extremely important that appropriate treatment is received quickly. Any errors or delay in diagnosing or treating meningitis can cause long term health problems or even death.
The medical position has recently been complicated by Coronavirus. COVID-19 produces similar symptoms to meningitis, including high temperatures and headaches. This means that meningitis can be overlooked during clinical assessment, with doctors ascribing the symptoms to COVID-19 rather than meningitis.
Can I bring a meningitis claim?
Claims can be made for compensation can be considered where there has been a failure or a delay in diagnosing meningitis.
To bring a claim you must show that the medical professionals failed in their duty of care and that as a result your health was directly affected.
Who can I claim against?
Your claim may be against a GP or hospital if they have missed the symptoms resulting in a delay, or even against the ambulance service if they have failed to correctly categorise your call or failed to act quickly to get treatment to you.
What can I claim for?
This is often the first question that we are asked by potential claimants. The value of a claim is usually broken down into three categories:
- General Damages – this is the ‘compensation’ element of the claim for the injuries caused or exacerbated by the medical failure.
- Past Losses – this relates to the financial losses you have incurred as a result of the medical failure, up until the date of settlement of the claim.
- Future Losses – this covers the future costs and losses that will be incurred going forward once the claim has been concluded.
The full claim value will not usually be known until the extent of the injuries caused by the negligence has been assessed. The value of claims is assessed on a case by case basis.
In the case of life-changing injuries, it is often possible to obtain an interim payment to allow for rehabilitation to start quickly. However, this too is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
How do I fund a claim?
We work on a no win, no fee basis, so you don’t need to let worries about paying legal costs put you off making a meningitis claim.
How long do I have to make a claim?
As with all clinical negligence claims, you have only three years in which to commence court proceedings. This is known as the limitation period. After this time the case will become time-barred. In the case of a minor, the limitation period does not start to run until their 18th birthday and therefore they will have until their 21st birthday to start court proceedings.
How do we get started?
The first step in establishing whether you have a legal claim is to contact one of our team for a free assessment. Where there has been a delay or misdiagnosis of meningitis, this will often trigger an internal investigation at the hospital involved. It is not always necessary to wait for the outcome of this investigation, though the final report may be helpful to your claim.
The team at Slee Blackwell has a wealth of experience in dealing with clinical negligence claims for people nationwide. We are on hand to answer any questions you may have and guide you, step by step, through the claim process.
If you think you have a claim relating to misdiagnosis of meningitis or a delay in treating meningitis, contact the team on 0333 888 0404 or send a brief details of your potential claim by email to [email protected]