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Have you or a loved one suffered from meningitis medical negligence? We're here to help

Most people who get meningitis fully recover, but it often has serious and long-term physical effects. These can be even worse if there is a delay in diagnosis or treatment, even if it's just a few hours. Complications can also be made worse if the wrong treatment is given.

You may have a right to compensation if you have serious consequences of meningitis due to medical negligence. A successful claim can fund vital support such as long-term care, rehabilitation or physiotherapy. It could also provide compensation for your pain and suffering. 

We can help by matching you with solicitors experienced in meningitis compensation cases. Call us on or request a call back for the advice and support you need. 

When might I have a case for meningitis negligence compensation?

You can claim compensation if the complications of meningitis are wholly or partially due to someone's negligence. Examples include doctors missing the early warning signs of meningitis, a delay in diagnosis or treatment, or receiving the wrong treatment.

You'd normally need to claim within three years of the negligence, although this time limit doesn't apply in some circumstances. These include where the person is under 18 or lacks the physical or psychological capability to make a claim. 

It's possible to claim on behalf of someone else who is physically or psychologically unable to claim themselves. You can also claim on behalf of someone under 18. 

Claiming brings you a guarantee of no financial risk as it will be on a no win no fee basis. There are no upfront charges and all of the costs are 100% covered for you during the case. You'll pay nothing at all if you lose. And if you win, your contribution to these costs will simply be deducted from your compensation.  

If you have any questions or feel you might have a claim, contact us for free on  or start a claim online. We'll listen to what you've been through and let you know if we think you could make a claim. If you're eligible, we'll match you with specialist medical negligence solicitors for further advice and support with your claim.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of delicate protective fluid and membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The most common cause is an ear or sinus infection spreading to the brain or spinal cord.

It's usually spread by sneezing, coughing or close physical contact such as kissing. You are most likely to catch it from someone who hasn't fallen ill but is carrying the virus or bacteria. 

Meningitis can be a very serious condition so needs to be diagnosed and treated quickly. Swift action is needed as without it there is greater likelihood of permanent damage. Amputation due to meningitis-related blood poisoning can be necessary. Sadly, meningitis can also be fatal, including for babies and children.

Did you know?

The Covid-19 pandemic saw a noticeable fall in meningitis cases during the UK's lockdowns, mask wearing and social distancing. This confirms that meningitis is usually contracted by close person-to-person contact.

What are the types of meningitis?

There are several types of meningitis:

Bacterial meningitis. This is a very serious illness that requires prompt diagnosis and urgent medical attention. The bacteria are usually harmless but cause meningitis when they enter the  bloodstream and reach the brain or spinal cord.

Viral meningitis. This is more common than bacterial meningitis but is usually much less serious and goes away without treatment. Several viruses can cause it, including influenza, measles and mumps.

Fungal meningitis. Less common than bacterial or viral meningitis, this is a serious infection usually caught by people with a weakened immune system. 

Parasitic meningitis. A rare form of meningitis that is usually treatable but can lead to severe complications. It's sometimes caught by coming into contact with water where the ‘naegleria fowleri' amoeba lives.

Non-infectious meningitis. This is caused by some diseases including cancer, some medications, and can follow a head injury or brain surgery. Most people recover within two weeks.

Neonatal meningitis. This is any kind of viral or bacterial meningitis that happens during the first 28 days of life. Up to half of babies contracting it suffer after-effects and sadly around 10% of cases are fatal.

This list covers the main types of meningitis. But If you don't see your type of meningitis here, we could still help you claim for meningitis negligence. Call us on or request a call back to discuss your situation in confidence.

What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

There are several signs and symptoms of meningitis, with no fixed order in which they appear and you might not experience all of them:

  • Fever - a high temperature of 38C or above
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • A rash that doesn't fade when you roll a glass over it
  • A stiff neck
  • Finding bright light uncomfortable
  • Drowsiness or being difficult to wake
  • Stomach cramps
  • Seizures or convulsions

It's important to know that not everyone who contracts meningitis will get a rash. If you see other signs of meningitis, don't wait for a rash to appear before seeking help. The NHS offers advice on what to do if you think that you or your child might have meningitis.

What are the long-term effects of meningitis?

Many people with bacterial meningitis in particular go on to experience serious and lasting problems. This can happen even if they receive prompt treatment but can be more likely and more serious if there is meningitis misdiagnosis or a delay in treatment.

The complications of meningitis can affect people in several ways:

  • Partial or full loss of hearing or vision
  • Brain injuries leading to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, behavioural and learning problems, movement and balance problems or epilepsy
  • Arthritis and other bone and joint issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Amputation due to meningitis is often performed to stop a septicaemia infection spreading

The after-effects of meningitis and septicaemia can be especially life-changing for children. They may need long-term support such as physiotherapy and help with their education.  

Bacterial meningitis and some other types of meningitis are also potentially lethal. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal.

Are you or a loved one suffering from complications of meningitis caused by medical negligence? To find out whether you can claim, please call us on  or fill in our online form to request a call back. We'll listen to your experience and help you understand whether you are eligible for compensation.


Over the years we have built partnerships with solicitors who specialise in clinical negligence cases. Meningitis claims are often complex, but we can match you with solicitors with the expertise and resources needed to achieve the best outcome.

Kerri Burns

Portal & Operations Manager

How is meningitis treated?

The initial treatment for meningitis needs to be given quickly and will depend on which type of meningitis someone has. Meningitis misdiagnosis can be devastating as prompt and correct diagnosis and treatment is vital. 

Viral meningitis doesn't usually need hospital treatment as it tends to clear up within a week or so. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and requires hospital treatment, including antibiotics and fluid given into a vein, and oxygen through a face mask. Steroids may also be needed to reduce swelling around the brain.

Further treatment or support may be needed if someone experiences long-term complications of meningitis. This may include rehabilitation/physiotherapy to improve functional skills, and ear implants to address hearing loss. Children may need specialist support such as help with their education.

Medical negligence is a situation where the doctor or hospital does not act to a standard that you as a patient could reasonably expect from them.

Several mistakes can lead to a claim for negligence in a case of meningitis. Wrong diagnosis or delayed diagnosis are often the basis of claims. There may have been a delay in treating meningitis, or mistakes in the type of treatment given. Any of these can lead to a much worse outcome for the patient.

Meningitis negligence can contribute to problems such as septicaemia (blood poisoning) that can lead to permanent brain damage and loss of hearing. Limb amputation is also sometimes required to prevent septicaemia from spreading further. Delays in diagnosis or treatment can also contribute to the death of a patient.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) provide clear guidelines for diagnosis and management. Even so, signs of meningitis are sometimes missed by doctors or other medical staff.

In cases of meningitis, wrong diagnosis can be a huge concern. Clarifying whether there is a bacterial or viral infection is especially important. Blood tests, a CT scan or a lumbar puncture may all be done to determine this. But sometimes the right tests aren't done, or mistakes are made when reviewing test results.

Other mistakes can also lead to a worse outcome for patients: 

  • A GP not referring the patient to hospital, or not doing this quickly enough.
  • Hospital doctors not administering antibiotics while waiting for a diagnosis, where appropriate. Early use of antibiotics can improve the likely outcome for someone with bacterial meningitis.
  • Insufficient monitoring of the patient's condition. This can be devastating if the condition worsens and goes untreated.
  • The wrong treatment given.
  • Specific failures in diagnosing or treating meningitis in pregnant women or new-born babies.

Any of these mistakes could form the basis of clinical negligence cases. Meningitis negligence claims may also involve other forms of negligence not listed above. 

We understand that you may be unsure about whether there has been medical negligence. Please call us on  or request a call back so that we can match you with expert medical negligence solicitors for advice and support.

Frequently asked questions...

Let's look at the health service. NHS Resolution is the body that oversees medical negligence claims against the NHS. Their figures show that there were 15,655 claims settled in 2018/19 and that damages were awarded on 8,712 occasions - that's in almost 56% of cases.

Medicine is complex and so are claims made for negligence: if you think you've been affected, then come and talk to us. You'll be able to chat through your circumstances with one of our expert legal support advisors - and we'll give you the options you need to make an informed decision about what to do next.

Legal aid was a method of covering the cost of going to court and getting a fair hearing. In 2000, legal aid was made unavailable for personal injury cases, and instead no win no fee or conditional fee agreements were introduced.

All of our solicitors can help you to make your claim on a no win no fee basis, which means that if your case isn't successful you won't pay a penny.

If your case is successful, you'll pay a fee to your solicitor as a percentage of the amount you receive, and this percentage will have been agreed before starting your claim.

Find out more about legal aid and no win no fee here.

It depends on whether you were affected by treatment through the NHS or while in private hands. If your claim is against the NHS, then any award is settled by NHS Resolution. It's the specialist insurer that oversees all cases brought against the NHS. 

Every healthcare Trust in the UK pays NHS Resolution an annual premium. This pays for the damages awarded in successful clinical negligence cases. It's different with claims made in the private medical sector where you claim against the individual rather than the establishment. 

All medical professionals working privately must carry their own liability insurance. Successful claims will then be settled by the medical professional's insurance company.

How much compensation could I receive for meningitis negligence?

The amount of compensation awarded in meningitis negligence claims will depend on many factors, such as the level of any brain damage, disability, loss of functional skills and so on. 

A meningitis compensation award might be determined by one or both of these categories: 

  • Special damages are the financial losses experienced as a direct result of meningitis. This may include loss of earnings and costs of treatment and rehabilitation.
  • General damages cover pain, suffering and ‘loss of amenity', which means the impact on your ability to do things you used to do, such as everyday tasks and hobbies. 

The Judicial College is the government department in the Ministry of Justice responsible for setting the guideline general damages amounts for all personal injury types. 

They provide guidelines for many of the types of complications that can form the basis of meningitis compensation claims, including:

  • Brain injury - from £2,070-£11,980 for minor brain injuries, to £264,650-£379,100 for very severe brain damage.
  • Amputation - from £90,250-£102,890 for a below-elbow arm amputation to not less than £128,710 for amputation at the shoulder. Awards for the loss of both arms range from £255,960 to £281,520. The guidelines include similar awards for leg amputation.
  • Loss of hearing - the guidelines range from a few thousand pounds for slight hearing loss up to £85,170-£102,890 for total deafness. 

The level of the award within the ranges listed above may be affected by considerations including the severity of the initial injury and the period taken to recover. The extent of continuing symptoms.

Financial losses (special damages) may also be added to these general damages in a meningitis claim. Awards have sometimes been for millions of pounds, for example where a baby suffers permanent effects of meningitis requiring expensive life-long care.

To find out whether you can claim compensation for what happened to you or a loved one, contact us for free on  or fill in our secure online form to arrange a call back at a time that suits you. We'll never rush or pressure you into making a claim. We're here to help you understand whether you could make a claim and to answer any questions.

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How long do I have to make a meningitis compensation claim?

To make a meningitis claim if you were 18 or over when negligence occurred, you have three years from the negligence or when you became aware of it. 

If the person affected was under 18 at the time and you are claiming for them, you can claim at any time until their 18th birthday. Once they reach 18, they have three years until their 21st birthday to make a claim.

There is no time limit if you are acting as a ‘litigation friend'. This means claiming on behalf of someone with after-effects or other conditions meaning they can't make the claim themselves. 

If you are sadly claiming following the death of a loved one, you usually have three years  from the date of their death to make a claim.

If you have any questions about making a meningitis claim, contact us for free and impartial advice on . We'll listen to what you've been through and let you know if we think you could make a no win no fee claim with the support of a specialist medical negligence lawyer. Meningitis claims require the right type of expertise, and we will match you with a solicitor who can help.  

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Can I make a no win no fee meningitis negligence claim?

At National Accident Helpline we specialise in no win no fee claims because it brings you a risk-free way to claim the compensation you deserve.

The first thing to know about this style of claim is that you won't pay any costs upfront or as your meningitis compensation case progresses. Your solicitor will cover all the costs and expenses throughout your case.

Should your case be unsuccessful, you'll have nothing to pay. This is because in most cases your solicitor will help you put in place an insurance policy known as ‘After the Event insurance' (ATE). This insurance covers legal costs, medical report fees, court fees and barristers' fees, and you won't even have to pay the ATE insurance fee.

Depending on your claim type and value, if you win your case the other side will usually be required to make a contribution towards your legal costs and expenses. They may not cover all your costs however, so there may be a deduction from your compensation to make up the difference. This deduction may include any fixed fees not covered by the other side, the solicitor's ‘success fee' for winning your claim, and the ATE policy fee.

Your solicitor will explain how much you'll pay if you win your case, so you'll know what to expect right from the start. And for additional  peace of mind, any costs and fees deducted from your compensation will be capped at a level discussed upfront with you.

So, to summarise, you'll pay nothing if you lose your claim, and you'll only pay if you win - at a level explained at the outset. No win, no fee, no surprises. It's as simple as that.

How do I start my claim with National Accident Helpline?

You could be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has suffered the effects of meningitis due to someone else's negligence. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances, and if we think you may be eligible, we'll put you in touch with one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors. 

The solicitor will give you a free consultation and advise how they may be able to help you. They'll also talk you through the no win no fee agreement.

If you're happy to go ahead and claim, your solicitor will contact the other side. This is the person or organisation you believe is responsible for your meningitis injury. They'll contact them on your behalf and let them know that you'll be making a claim for your injuries and any losses.

During your claim, your solicitor will be your point of contact. It's their job to keep you up-to-date throughout your claim. They'll also be happy to answer any questions you may have as your claim progresses.

To find out whether you are eligible and make a claim, call our team of legally-trained advisors on , request a call back or start a claim online.

Why choose National Accident Helpline?

Compassionate and stress-free claims handling.
Compensation on a No Win No Fee basis means you'll never be out of pocket.
We've handled over 40,000 medical claims.
Trusted, friendly and confidential support when you really need it.