Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the three layers of membrane that envelop the brain and the spinal cord.

Various different types of viruses and bacteria can infect the meninges.  The bacteria may spread to the meninges from an adjacent infected area, or via the blood stream.

Once the bacteria have got into the fluid surrounding the brain the bacteria can spread and multiply quickly.

Brain damage in meningitis is caused both by the direct action of toxins released from the bacteria or virus and by the body’s own response to infection.

People who have suffered from meningitis may experience a wide range of different types of brain damage, depending on which areas of the brain were affected, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hearing loss and cognitive difficulties.

When might someone have a claim involving meningitis?

Early recognition and treatment of meningitis can save lives.

Should the initial signs of meningitis be missed, the window of opportunity for early treatment can be lost, and you or your loved one may have been denied the best chance of a full or better recovery.

If this has happened to you or a loved one, we can help you investigate a claim for a delay in diagnosis of meningitis or a failure to treat meningitis appropriately.

Please see our guide to the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis for further information.

How can we help people make a claim, and what is the process?

You should speak to a specialist solicitor such as ourselves if you wish to make a claim against a hospital trust or GP for failing to diagnose or treat meningitis promptly or effectively. Using our years of experience, we will be able to advise on the chances you have of successfully bringing a claim for compensation.

It is likely that you will have reasonable grounds if you or your loved one didn’t receive the right treatment in time, or at all. Please see our guide to the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis for further information.

The process of making a claim starts by obtaining all of the relevant medical records to discover exactly what happened and the advice and treatment that was given.

Once you have decided to proceed with a claim for compensation, we will instruct medical experts to review the records and advise on the standard of the care that you or your loved one received. If substandard care is identified, the medical experts will also be asked to comment on what difference the substandard care has made to the outcome.

We will then write to the hospital, GP or other medical professional and tell them why we believe that the treatment was substandard, giving them the opportunity to admit or deny the allegations we have made. If they deny the allegations your claim may be issued in court.

The court will then manage the claim by providing a timetable which will include exchanging evidence from witnesses; exchanging experts’ reports; and finally working towards trial.

It is very rare to go to trial and most cases settle before any trial takes place.

How much compensation might you receive?

Compensation levels depend entirely on your current circumstances and the nature of the injury. If the level of brain injury is severe then the level of compensation is often very high as it will need to provide for all of a person’s additional needs for the rest of their life.

If you want to find out more about how compensation is calculated, please view our medical negligence guide.

How long will a claim for meningitis negligence take?

Bringing a claim can take a number of years and the time it takes will depend upon the nature of the injury and whether the Defendant contests the claim or not.

Sometimes it is possible to obtain an interim payment from the defendant to pay for initial therapies and additional care before the claim is settled and we will always explore this option if available.

How can you pay for a meningitis claim?

When the claim is being made on behalf of a newborn baby then it may be possible to secure public funding for the claim from the Legal Aid Agency. Otherwise, most cases are funded by way of a conditional fee agreement which is often referred to as a ‘no win no fee agreement’.

When a conditional fee agreement is in place, you will pay nothing if you lose your case. If you win your case then the majority of our costs will be paid for by the defendant with a small proportion being deducted from your compensation.

What makes Royds Withy King a good firm to choose for meningitis claims?

Royds Withy King has a huge wealth of experience in looking after clients and families affected by acquired brain injuries such as meningitis.

We have built relationships with some of the best medical experts in the country who can advise the court on the standard of care that you or your loved one has received.

We believe in maximising the quality of life for all our clients affected by brain injury and work with experienced therapists and equipment specialists who can advise on optimising your ongoing rehabilitation.

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