Council Compensation Claims

We work in partnership with National Accident Helpline, the UK's leading personal injury specialists.

Council Compensation Claims

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Not sure if you have a valid claim? Contact us for free advice, with no obligation to proceed.

Council Compensation Claims

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No win no fee* takes the risk out of making an injury claim. If you lose your case, you don't pay a penny.

Council Compensation Claims

Talk to the experts

We work in partnership with National Accident Helpline, the UK's leading personal injury experts.

Council Compensation Claims

Free, no obligation advice

Not sure if you have a valid claim? Contact us for free advice, with no obligation to proceed.

Council Compensation Claims

No win no fee guarantee

No win no fee takes the risk out of making an injury claim. If you lose your case, you don't pay a penny.

Council Compensation Claims

Talk to the experts

We work in partnership with National Accident Helpline, the UK's leading personal injury experts.

Meningitis Claims

Meningitis is a medical emergency that can be devastating even when diagnosed and treated correctly. It is an infection and inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges.

Most cases of the illness are due to viral infections, but certain fungi, parasites, and bacteria can also cause it. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, nausea, and confusion, and they can lead to long-term effects like seizures, hearing loss, or chronic fatigue.

If you or a loved one suffered avoidable harm because a medical professional has failed to diagnose your condition, you may be eligible to make a meningitis claim. Examples of negligence include delayed treatment, failure to make a specialist referral and misdiagnosis.

To find out if you have a valid claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back using our online claim form. If you are entitled to compensation, a medical negligence solicitor will take on your case on a no win no fee basis. This ensures there are no upfront costs and nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful.

Am I eligible to make a meningitis claim?

The easiest way to find out if you can start a misdiagnosed meningitis claim is to seek legal advice. A personal injury claims solicitor will take on your case if they can prove your healthcare professional was negligent in their care. For this, they must show the following:

  • A duty of care. All healthcare providers have a duty of care to provide treatment to their patients that meets the standard of care expected within their profession. These standards are set by bodies such as the General Medical Council (GMC).
  • A breach of duty. This involves your doctor’s failure to recognise the symptoms of meningitis or to provide timely and appropriate treatment.
  • Causation. This element establishes the link between the breach of duty and the harm you suffered. If the doctor’s actions did not affect the outcome of your condition, your case would not stand.
  • Damages. These refer to the harm and losses you suffered as a result of the breach of duty. They may include pain, suffering, lost wages, medical expenses or long-term disabilities resulting from the poor treatment of meningitis.

If all of the above can be proven in your case, a specialist medical negligence solicitor will help you start a meningitis claim.

meningitis claims

What is meningitis?

As mentioned above, meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. It is typically caused by an infection, although other factors, such as drug reactions or autoimmune disorders, can also cause it. The most common types of meningitis include:

  • Viral meningitis is typically caused by viruses such as herpes simplex. It is usually less severe than bacterial meningitis and often resolves on its own with supportive care.
  • Bacterial meningitis is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition caused by bacteria such as pneumococcus or meningococcus. It requires prompt medical treatment with antibiotics to prevent complications like hearing loss, brain damage, or death.
  • Fungal meningitis is relatively rare and typically affects individuals with weakened immune systems. It can be caused by fungi such as Aspergillus or Candida species.
  • Parasitic meningitis is caused by organisms such as brain-eating amoebas. These can enter the body through contaminated water and travel to the brain, leading to severe inflammation and infection.
  • Non-infectious meningitis is caused by factors such as autoimmune disorders, drug reactions or certain cancers.

Each type of meningitis presents its own symptoms and needs specific treatment. Prompt diagnosis is essential to managing the condition effectively and reducing the risk of complications.

Meningitis signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of meningitis can vary depending on its cause, the age of the individual, and other factors. The most common ones include:

  • A sudden onset of fever, which is often one of the first symptoms
  • A severe headache that is different from usual headaches
  • A stiff neck due to the inflammation is a classic symptom of meningitis
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea and vomiting, which may be persistent or severe
  • Altered mental status, such as confusion, irritability, drowsiness or difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Seizures if the infection causes inflammation of the brain tissue
  • A distinctive skin rash that does not fade when pressed

In babies and young children, the symptoms can be more challenging to recognise and might include:

  • Poor feeding or refusal to eat
  • Excessive crying or irritability
  • Lethargy or sleepiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bulging or swollen eyes

It is essential for healthcare professionals to recognise these symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Failure to do so could entitle you to start a meningitis negligence claim against the NHS.

How is meningitis diagnosed and treated?

Prompt diagnosis of meningitis is crucial for initiating appropriate treatment and preventing complications. The diagnostic process may include the following steps:

  • A physical examination where your doctor will ask you about symptoms and any potential exposure to infectious agents;
  • A lumbar puncture, during which the doctor will insert a needle into the lower back to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for analysis;
  • Blood tests to assess the level of white blood cells and inflammatory markers;
  • Blood cultures to identify any bacteria or other pathogens circulating in the bloodstream;
  • Imaging studies like CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to look at the brain and detect any abnormalities, such as swelling or inflammation;
  • Depending on the suspected cause of meningitis, additional tests may be ordered, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for specific viruses or cultures of bacteria or fungi.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment depends on the underlying cause and may involve:

  • Intravenous antibiotics and sometimes corticosteroids for bacterial meningitis;
  • Antiviral medication in case of viral meningitis;
  • Antifungal or antiparasitic medication;
  • Regardless of the cause, symptomatic treatment may include pain relievers for headache and fever, fluids to prevent dehydration, and supportive care to manage symptoms and promote recovery.

If your doctor has failed to provide adequate treatment, leading to the worsening of your condition, you may have grounds for a meningitis compensation claim.

Potential complications of meningitis

Many people can experience moderate to severe and lasting problems, especially those with bacterial meningitis. This can happen even with prompt treatment and can be all the more catastrophic in case of meningitis misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. Possible complications include:

  • Partial or complete hearing loss;
  • Vision problems such as blurred vision, double vision, or even blindness, which can be temporary or permanent;
  • Cognitive impairments, memory problems, learning difficulties, seizures or changes in behaviour due to brain damage;
  • Balance and movement problems or paralysis;
  • Kidney and lung damage;
  • Arthritis and other bone and joint issues;
  • Life-threatening septicaemia (blood poisoning);
  • Loss of limbs to prevent an infection from spreading.

If you or a loved one suffered any avoidable complications due to clinical negligence, you might be eligible to make a misdiagnosed meningitis claim.

What types of medical negligence could lead to a meningitis compensation claim?

Several types of medical negligence can entitle you to make a meningitis compensation claim, including:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, leading to delayed treatment;
  • Failure to recognise the signs of meningitis and carry out appropriate diagnostic tests;
  • Failure to administer the correct treatment once the condition was diagnosed;
  • Failure of a GP to refer you to a specialist or not doing this quickly enough;
  • Failure to administer antibiotics while waiting for a diagnosis;
  • Insufficient monitoring of your condition;
  • Misunderstanding test results, which led to delayed treatment;
  • Failure to monitor a pregnant patient with group B streptococcus (GBS);
  • Failure to monitor a baby with a high risk of developing a GBS infection.

These are just a few examples of medical negligence that could result in a claim for meningitis compensation. Each case is unique, and your specific circumstances will determine whether you have grounds for legal action.

What evidence do I need to start a clinical negligence case?

The types of evidence you could use to support your claim include:

  • Medical records that show your initial diagnosis, the treatments you received and the progression of your illness;
  • Any formal complaints you have made against the hospital and their response;
  • Statements from witnesses such as friends and family who have noticed the evolution of your conditions and how it has affected your life;
  • Your personal statement about how the delay in diagnosis of meningitis has caused you unnecessary pain and suffering and its impact on your life;
  • Photographs or videos of any visible symptoms or complications caused by meningitis;
  • Expert testimony from specialists who can help establish the standard of care that should have been provided and confirm a breach of duty;
  • You should also provide proof of financial losses and expenses incurred due to negligence, such as receipts, payslips, and invoices.

Can I make a meningitis claim on behalf of my child?

If your child suffered avoidable harm due to delayed diagnosis or poor management of meningitis, you may be able to make a claim for compensation on their behalf. A solicitor experienced in child injury cases can help you fill in and file all the necessary documents to be named as their litigation friend. Once the court appoints you, you will have several responsibilities, which include:

  • Make decisions about the case while keeping your child’s best interests in mind;
  • Approve and sign legal documents and pay any fees requested by the court;
  • Take legal advice and instruct your solicitor;
  • Consider any compensation offers made by the other side.

If you secure meningitis compensation, you must go to an Infant Approval Hearing in court, where a judge will look at the evidence and decide whether the payment is fair. The awarded funds will then be kept in a court bank account and released to the child on their 18th birthday. Alternatively, the money can be deposited in a personal injury trust in their name.

It is essential to note that you can also represent an adult as a litigation friend if they cannot conduct legal procedures due to a condition that affects their mental capacity. This includes conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome and Dementia.

How much compensation could I receive for meningitis misdiagnosis?

The level of compensation awarded for a meningitis misdiagnosis claim will depend on the level of pain and suffering caused by medical negligence. Typically, compensation for meningitis consists of two types of damages that your solicitor will include in your claim:

General damages cover the illness and its effects on your life, such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological distress
  • Long-term physical and mental disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • The impact of your hobbies, daily activities and relationships

Special damages cover the financial losses and expenses incurred due to the delayed diagnosis of meningitis, which could include:

  • Prescriptions and private treatments
  • Rehabilitation and counselling
  • Loss of earnings during recovery or loss of earning capacity
  • Care costs during the illness and in case of long-term disability
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to cope with ongoing issues
  • Travel expenses to medical appointments

According to the guidelines from the Judicial College and our compensation calculator, you could receive anywhere from £2,070 for a minor brain injury and up to £379,100 for very severe brain damage.

What is the time limit to start a meningitis negligence claim?

The time limit to start a meningitis negligence claim is three years from the date you became aware that you received substandard medical care. However, the sooner you get in touch with a solicitor, the easier it will be to secure evidence to build a strong case.

There are a few exceptions to the three-year claim limitation date:

  • If the claim is for a child, the three years do not begin until their 18th birthday. A parent or another adult could claim for them anytime before that.
  • The time limit is put on hold if the injured party lacks mental capacity due to a brain injury or a pre-existing condition like Down syndrome. A litigation friend could represent them at any time.
  • If you lost a loved one due to meningitis misdiagnosis, you have three years to start a medical negligence claim after their death.

Will I receive a No Win No Fee service?

If you have a valid case, your personal injury lawyer will help you claim compensation under a conditional fee agreement, also known as no win no fee. That means you do not have to pay any upfront legal costs, and you only pay your solicitor if your claim is successful. Otherwise, you will not owe them a penny.

Under this service, you will also have After the Event (ATE) insurance against legal costs and disbursements incurred during litigation. This policy helps to ensure that if you don’t make a successful claim, you will not have to pay for expenses like court fees or medical reports. You only pay for the ATE premium if you win compensation.

To learn more about making a meningitis claim, do not hesitate to contact us and speak to a friendly legal adviser. You can do this by calling the freephone 0800 678 1410 or entering your details here to request a call back.

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