Infectious disease claims
Infectious diseases range in scale from common conditions like measles and mumps, to rare viruses. There are various ways you can be exposed to such infectious disease - commonly through the air or via touch.
This means you can contract infectious diseases while in hospital. When you do, you’ll usually be treated in the hospital. But occasionally, such diseases might be misdiagnosed by medical professionals, leading to serious long-term health issues.
This is when hospital infection claims can arise. If you’ve contracted an infectious disease during your time in hospital, or received a misdiagnosis of such a disease that has resulted in serious health problems, you may have a strong claim for compensation. Our expert team of medical negligence lawyers at Leigh Day can help.
More information about infectious disease claims
Hospital infection claims can stem from catching a disease when you’re in for surgery, treatment or even a simple check-up for another medical issue.
Some of the main infectious diseases caught in hospitals include:
- Encephalitis – inflammation of the brain that can be caused by viruses, or more rarely bacteria or a fungus.
- Listeria – a bacteria generally spread through contaminated foods. It’s particularly dangerous to pregnant women, elderly and those with weak immune systems.
- Measles – highly infectious virus and spreads through the air. Common in young children who have not had it before and those who are not vaccinated against it.
- Meningitis – inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spine, commonly caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections. Misdiagnosis can occur as the symptoms are similar to less serious conditions, such as flu.
- Pneumonia – usually caused by bacteria, viruses and rarely fungi. Pneumonia affects between 0.5% and 1% of adults in the UK every year.
- Urinary tract infections – caused by bacteria entering the urinary system. More common during pregnancy, people with kidney stones, weakened immune systems and more .
- MRSA – this bacterium is resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Hospital patients are in close contact with many people and often have a way the bacteria can enter their body, which is why they are most at risk.
- Sepsis – not an infectious disease, but instead the body’s response to infections. Sepsis is more likely in people with a weakened immune system, who are already in hospital.
To start your infectious disease claim, contact our medical negligence team for a free initial consultation. One of our experienced lawyers will listen to the details of your case and assess whether they think you have a claim.
They may ask you questions about your health, treatment and more. If they think you have a strong claim, they will advise you on the next steps to take.
In many cases this will involve gathering evidence to support your infectious disease claim and prove clinical negligence was responsible. This can include:
- Medical records, documents and witness statements that detail any treatment change in your conditions and prove your hospitalisation
- Financial records to support any claims for loss of earnings.
In most cases, your claim will be brought against the organisation responsible. Your claim may be against the NHS – who run many hospital trusts in the UK – or against private hospitals, care homes or independent consultants.
Compensation is designed to cover the costs of dealing with an infectious disease, including any physical and emotional suffering it causes. How much compensation you can expect to receive will depend on how you have been affected. Any compensation awarded as part of a hospital acquired infection lawsuit will aim to cover:
- Additional treatment costs – for medication, extra time in private medical facilities
- Travel expenses to and from extra medical appointments
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering experienced
- Loss of earnings through spending more time in hospital to recover and any long-term problems it creates that prevent your return to work
- Any costs for specialist care, equipment or further expenses acquired due to contracting an infectious disease
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Infectious disease case studies
£1.67 million settlement
£1.67 million for a woman who suffered a debilitating stroke after bacterial infective endocarditis (an infection of the inner tissue of the heart) was missed.
Six-figure sum for the partner of a woman who died of tuberculosis after the failure to diagnose the condition by two GPs at a London surgery.
Settlement for a woman whose severe osteomyelitis infection of the pubic bone was not diagnosed or treated.
Why choose Leigh Day?
At Leigh Day, our medical negligence team have more than 30 years’ experience successfully securing high levels of compensation for individuals with infectious disease claims. This includes bringing claims against NHS trusts and private practices where a variety of diseases have been contracted in hospital due to clinical negligence.
Olive Lewin has specialised in clinical negligence law for more than 25 years, following previous training and qualification as a registered nurse.
She has vast experience settling complicated, high-value claims, including those related to infectious diseases. Her successful claims include securing damages of seven figures across various cases. She is a member of the Spinal Injuries Association, AvMA and APIL.
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