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Encephalitis is a rare but dangerous illness when the brain becomes inflamed. It can be a life-threatening condition and cause serious brain damage and other life-changing injuries, if left undiagnosed and untreated.
Anyone can be affected by encephalitis, regardless of age, sex or ethnicity. Every year 500,000 people are affected by the illness, which is around one person per minute .
If you or a loved one have experienced encephalitis misdiagnosis at any age and whether the consequences were minor to fatal, then you may have a claim for compensation. At Leigh Day, our experienced medical negligence team can help with your case.
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What is encephalitis?
Encephalitis is a serious condition when the brain becomes swollen or inflamed. The most common cause of this is a viral infection. This can be through the viruses that cause mumps, measles, rubella, glandular fever and others.
It can also occur when the immune system attacks the brain without the person having suffered a viral infection – known as autoimmune encephalitis.
Encephalitis is most dangerous for the very young or old. Undiagnosed encephalitis in babies can lead to catastrophic, life-changing brain damage, blindness, loss of hearing, seizures, and memory loss. These health problems have a serious impact on the person who has suffered encephalitis and on the lives of their families.
Common encephalitis symptoms
Encephalitis symptoms can be similar to the flu and may occur over a number of hours, days or weeks. The severity of the symptoms are variable, from headaches to severe complications including memory loss. Signs to look out for might include:
•Confusion and disorientation
•Aching muscles and joints
•Fits or seizures
•Sudden changes in behaviour
•Loss of consciousness
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek urgent medical attention as it could be a sign of encephalitis.
Making an encephalitis claim
Due to the overlap of symptoms with other health conditions, sadly encephalitis misdiagnosis can occur. This can lead to a delay in appropriate treatment and the worsening of the condition and associated complications. If you believe you received a delay or misdiagnosis of the disease and treatment, then our team of specialist solicitors may be able to help you make an encephalitis negligence claim.
Contact our team of specialist encephalitis lawyers for a free initial consultation. They will listen to your case, assess its details and discuss whether they think you have a claim. This can include asking questions about your health, treatment and experience, before advising you on the best next steps to take.
You may also be able to claim on behalf of a loved one who passed away or was severely affected by a delayed or misdiagnosis of encephalitis, to the point where they cannot bring a claim themselves. One of our lawyers will explain how this works, advise you on the next steps to take and support you through the process.
What you need to make a claim
Whether you are making an encephalitis claim for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, collecting as much evidence as possible can boost your chances of successfully securing compensation.
To support your claim and verify the impact of encephalitis on your health and general condition, you may be asked to gather evidence including:
•Medical records and documents
•Witness statements from medical professionals, friends and family
•Financial records (to prove loss of earnings)
Encephalitis compensation can be used to improve your quality of life. It aims to return it as closely as possible to what it was before, or when diagnosed in babies to help make sure they can live as happy and healthy a life as possible. Compensation is designed to cover the costs of:
- Ongoing care
- Specialist and additional treatment
- Loss of earnings
- Accommodation changes – installing rails or ramps, moving to a new property
- Specialist equipment – such as walking sticks, wheelchairs and adapted or accessible vehicles
- Education – learning to read braille, for example
- Emotional and physical pain and suffering
The amount of compensation you could receive will depend on the severity of your case and its impact on your daily life. Some examples of the amounts for encephalitis compensation claims our team have successfully secured include:
- £7 million for a brain-injured man who contracted encephalitis caused by the herpes simplex virus, when he was three weeks old. The hospital where he was admitted failed to carry out a lumbar puncture the day he was admitted, and delayed treatment with the anti-viral drug Acyclovir.
- A lump sum of £1.5 million and annual six-figure payments throughout his life, for a client who contracted meningitis and encephalitis as a one year old. His treatment was delayed by a number of days, leaving him with profound brain damage, blind and deaf.
Why choose Leigh Day?
Our medical negligence team at Leigh Day has more than 30 years’ experience fighting many encephalitis misdiagnosis claims and successfully securing compensation for our clients.
Leigh Day were ranked as one of the three top law firms for medical negligence in the UK by The Times in its 2020 Top Law Firms supplement. We are also ranked highly in both the independent directory The Legal 500 and Chambers.
Emmalene Bushnell is a Leigh Day partner with more than 15 years’ experience as a clinical negligence lawyer. She has a special interest in infectious disease claims, having worked on various related cases, securing settlements for our clients.
Emmalene is a member of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and accredited as a Senior Litigator of Association of Personal Injury Solicitors (APIL). She also holds the Law Society clinical negligence specialist lawyer accreditation.
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What our clients say
We never thought when we first made contact with Leigh Day that it would be just over five years later when we settled our claim. It has been a long road to get to this point but Emmalene and her team have shown us nothing but compassion, commitment and kindness throughout. We cannot thank Emmalene enough. Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.