Meningitis negligence claims solicitors

Half a million people living in the UK have had meningitis with about 9,000 new viral and bacterial meningitis cases every year. Sadly, 1 in 10 cases of bacterial meningitis are fatal and 1 in 3 survivors are left with lifelong after-effects.

Meningitis can affect anyone, of any age, at any time and a delay in diagnosis or mis-treatment of meningitis can result in serious brain damage. At Boyes Turner, we can help rebuild lives and support individuals and families affected by this life-threatening disease.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a life-threatening infection of the protective membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord. This protective covering is called ‘the meninges’.

Meningitis is most commonly caused by viral or bacterial infections, but can have other causes, such as cancer or fungal infection.

Anyone can be affected by meningitis but those at highest risk include:


  • from group B streptococcus infection or GBS:
  • if born prematurely before 37 weeks gestation;
  • whose mother had a high temperature during childbirth;
  • if born more than 18 hours after their mother’s waters broke (rupture of membranes);
  • if their mother’s previous child had GBS infection;
  • ​from E coli;
  • from exposure to infection in other ways;

Young children;

  • particularly students;
  • those living away from home for the first time;

Older adults;

  • People with compromised immune systems who are less able to fight off infection.

What is meningitis negligence?

Meningitis can cause septicaemia (blood poisoning), which is also life-threatening and can result in permanent damage to the patient’s brain and nerves. It is therefore essential that meningitis is diagnosed and treated quickly.

Meningitis negligence claims often arise where someone has suffered severe injuries or has died after a GP or hospital staff:

  • delayed or failed to recognise the signs and suspect or diagnose meningitis;
  • delayed or failed to refer or admit the patient to hospital;
  • failed urgently to provide or delayed treatment with IV antibiotics;
  • failed to monitor a pregnant woman with group B streptococcus (GBS);
  • failed to give antibiotics to a pregnant woman with group B streptococcus (GBS):
  • where the mother had a GBS urine infection in pregnancy;
  • where the mother’s waters broke before 37 weeks gestation;
  • where the baby was delivered by caesarean section;
  • failed to monitor a baby at high risk of developing GBS infection;

When meningitis is suspected, the patient must be admitted to hospital immediately for urgent treatment with intravenous(IV)antibiotics. Any delay can result in severe brain or neurological injury, permanent disability from septicaemia, limb loss/amputation or death.

Our fundraising pledge

We support Meningitis Now and Meningitis Research Foundation’s campaigns to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and the support that they provide for families affected by the disease.

“Whatever your experience of meningitis, we know that it can change people’s lives forever. For some, the support of family and friends will get them through, or for others the help and support we can provide is vital.  We never want anyone to suffer alone; our support is for children, teenagers and adults.  We offer our help to the whole family, friends and community.”

Meningitis Now


Admission of liability, apology and £50,000 interim payment from ambulance service for meningitis amputee

Our amputation claims team have secured an admission of liability, an apology and £50,000...

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Interim payment for young boy with pneumococcal meningitis

Boyes Turner have secured a liability judgment for a boy with impaired hearing, language and...

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Delayed diagnosis of meningitis brain damage claim settled

Our client The parents of Rupert*, a three year old approached our expert team to make a brain...

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Ongoing claim following delay in diagnosis of pneumococcal meningitis for young boy

Boyes Turner solicitors currently represent Matthew* in a case involving a delay in diagnosis and...

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Meningitis FAQs

  • What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

    Babies with meningitis may show just some or all of the following signs, which may appear in any order:

    • a high temperature (fever) with cold hands and feet
    • refusing food
    • vomiting
    • unhappy about being handled
    • drowsy, sleepy, floppy or unresponsive
    • breathing rapidly or grunting
    • pale blotchy skin, spots or a rash which doesn’t fade in colour when the side of a glass is pressed firmly against the skin. Do not wait for this sign, as a rash is not always present in meningitis, but if this sign does appear this is a medical emergency – call 999. 
    • unusual cry or moaning
    • a tense, bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on the baby’s head)
    • neck stiffness
    • photophobia (discomfort in bright light)
    • fits (also known as seizures or convulsions)

    Teenagers, adults or older children with meningitis may show any (not necessarily all) of the following signs (in any order):

    • a high temperature (fever) with cold hands and feet
    • drowsy or difficult to wake
    • confusion or irritability
    • vomiting
    • severe muscle pain
    • pale blotchy skin, spots or a rash which doesn’t fade in colour when the side of a glass is pressed firmly against the skin. Meningitis may be present without a rash, but if it appears, this is a medical emergency – call 999;
    • neck stiffness
    • severe headache
    • photophobia (discomfort in bright light)
    • fits (also known as seizures or convulsions) 
  • What treatment is there for meningitis?

    There are vaccines for some types of meningitis. These are given routinely to young children to protect them from a young age.

    The NHS also recommends that young teenagers, sixth formers and students going to university or living away from home for the first time should have the meningitis ACWY vaccine which offers protection against four types of bacteria that can cause meningitis.

    Currently, there is not a vaccine for all types of meningitis. Awareness of the signs of meningitis and quick diagnosis and treatment are the key to avoiding permanent injury from this serious condition.

    Once you have meningitis, treatment can be different depending on your age and the type of infection. Bacterial meningitis must be treated urgently with antibiotics. There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis, although antibiotics might be given as a precaution to a patient suspected to have meningitis whilst their doctors try to establish the exact nature of their condition.  

  • What meningitis negligence injuries can lead to a meningitis compensation claim?

    We are experienced in helping clients recover substantial compensation after meningitis negligence has led to:

    • death
    • brain injury
    • limb loss and amputation
    • long-term disability, including:
      • brain damage and neurological injury
      • loss of hearing
      • blindness or visual impairment
      • epilepsy (seizures or fits)
      • learning disability
      • problems with speech and communication
    • Where septicaemia is also present, additional injuries may include:  
      • organ damage
      • scarring
      • limb-loss or loss of fingers or toes

    Where negligent meningitis treatment results in death we can help bereaved dependents recover compensation to help ease the financial hardship which often follows the death of a parent or provider. Whilst money can’t turn back the clock or undo what has happened, in our experience compensation helps grieving families by alleviating financial worry at this very difficult and stressful time.

  • Why make a meningitis claim?

    Meningitis is life changing, even when appropriate treatment is provided in a timely manner. However, if a diagnosis is missed or treatment is delayed, the avoidable consequences can be catastrophic. Thousands of families have lost loved ones to meningitis and many survivors are left with permanent after-effects such as brain damage, hearing loss, epilepsy, amputation and learning difficulties.

    As meningitis claims specialists, we obtain maximum compensation and rehabilitation for survivors living with the long-term effects of the disease following negligent meningitis medical care. We obtain early financial assistance for our clients to help them recover, rehabilitate and rebuild their lives.

I am overwhelmed by the outcome in terms of the monetary value and know I should consider it as a near a 'sorry' as I am likely to get from the hospital. It will be nice to start the process of closure on the whole issue now and look towards the future for us as a family. 

Mrs T, Surrey 

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