Meningitis compensation claims

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Meningitis medical negligence claims

  • A delay in diagnosing meningitis can result in a lost window of opportunity to effectively treat it.
  • We have considerable experience in investigating and successfully pursuing claims where there has been a delay in diagnosis.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious infection that causes inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms and can lead to severe complications such as brain damage, hearing loss, and even death if left untreated.

What is meningitis negligence?

Meningitis negligence refers to a failure by healthcare professionals to diagnose or treat meningitis in a timely and appropriate manner, resulting in harm or death to the patient. This can include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to administer appropriate treatment such as antibiotics or antiviral medication.

What is a meningitis compensation claim?

A meningitis compensation claim is a legal action taken by someone who has suffered from meningitis due to the negligence of another party, such as a healthcare provider or vaccine manufacturer. The claim seeks financial compensation for the damages and losses incurred as a result of the illness.

Sarah Stanton

Sarah Stanton

Partner | Medical negligence

020 8332 8632

What causes meningitis?

The infection that causes meningitis can be either viral or bacterial. The more common cause is viral. Viral meningitis is usually caused by enteroviruses, the virus that is responsible for sore throats, colds and flu-like illnesses. Children and people with weakened immune systems, are most likely to be affected.

Bacterial meningitis occurs when bacteria travels to the brain and spine through the bloodstream, and tends to be more severe than viral meningitis. Symptoms of bacterial meningitis are often mistaken for other common illnesses such as cold or flu, meaning an accurate diagnosis, and therefore treatment, is required at the earliest possible stage.

For further information, read our guide on What is Meningitis?

How do you treat meningitis?

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial meningitis. It is vital that antibiotics are given in the early stages of the disease in order to reduce the risk of damage to the brain. Antibiotics cannot be used to treat viral meningitis as they will have no effect on the virus itself, and other therapeutic interventions are required.

If treatment is not given promptly, meningitis can be fatal, for individuals of all ages.

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Do you have a meningitis medical negligence claim?

Meningitis compensation claims usually focus on a delayed diagnosis which results in the inability to treat it effectively.

Clinicians often fail to take the investigative steps required to rule out meningitis; for example, a GP may fail to refer a child to hospital for review and, instead, adopt a wait and see approach. A hospital doctor may fail to carry out essential blood tests, a lumbar puncture or chest x-ray if they do not consider meningitis as a possible diagnosis.

We have considerable experience in investigating and successfully pursuing claims where there has been a delay diagnosing meningitis.

A delayed diagnosis of meningitis may result in devastating brain injury. Those affected will require considerable support throughout their life. The cost of private 24 hour care, for example, can be hugely expensive so it is crucial that needs are fully met. Compensation claims are specifically aimed at funding these needs.

We recognise the very real difficulties that exist in providing care. Not least difficulties accessing ongoing medical treatment, care and support, therapy and equipment (and in the case of children, education). In cases where liability is resolved, we will always seek interim payments at an early stage to ensure access to such treatment, support and assistance. We are also able to offer our clients in an appropriate case a specialist ‘immediate needs assessment’ service.

A successful compensation claim will ensure that you have the care and support you need for life and will frequently include financial provision to cover the cost not only of care but also essential therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy. It can also often help with requirements for assistive technology and equipment, aids and equipment, transport needs and even appropriate accommodation (along with specialist education in the case of a minor).

Contact us

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking. We deal with clients throughout the country and we will visit you at your home, hospital or rehabilitation unit.

We are here to help

Discover how our expert medical negligence lawyers can help you.

Contact our medical negligence team

Explore and download our meningitis factsheet

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.


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