Meningitis is a particularly merciless disease, especially when it strikes children. Prompt diagnosis and medical care are essential to prevent a serious and permanent injury or death. Unfortunately, deadly bacterial meningitis is often dismissed as a viral illness by healthcare professionals who then choose not to perform the appropriate tests—including a CT scan or lumbar puncture—to rule out a bacterial illness. Like all medical negligence cases, those involving meningitis are highly complex in nature and replete with opportunities for negligent parties to avoid taking responsibility. We diligently discover the important facts, retain world-class expert witnesses and methodically prepare meningitis cases for trial in a way that maximizes the opportunity for a verdict that provides justice for our client.
More about meningitis misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis…
Meningitis, a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges), can come in several forms, including:
- aseptic meningitis;
- meningitis—gram negative;
- meningitis—H. influenza;
- meningitis—staphylococcal; and
The most common causes of meningitis are viral infections that usually get better without treatment. Viral meningitis usually develops in the late summer and early fall, and often affects children and adults under age 30, though most infections occur in children under age five. Most viral meningitis is due to enteroviruses, which are viruses that also can cause intestinal illness. Many other types of viruses can cause meningitis. For example, viral meningitis can be caused by herpes viruses, the same virus that can cause cold sores and genital herpes (although people with cold sores or genital herpes are not at a greater risk of developing herpes meningitis). Recently, West Nile virus, spread by mosquito bites, has become a cause of viral meningitis in most of the United States.
Viral v. Bacterial Meningitis
Unlike most cases of viral meningitis, bacterial meningitis infections are extremely serious, and may result in death or brain damage, even if treated. Indeed, acute bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment in a hospital. Symptoms usually come on quickly, and may include:
- fever and chills;
- mental status changes;
- nausea and vomiting;
- sensitivity to light (photophobia);
- severe headache;
- stiff neck (meningismus);
- bulging fontanelles;
- decreased consciousness;
- poor feeding or irritability in children;
- rapid breathing; and
- unusual posture, with the head and neck arched backwards (opisthotonos).
For any patient who is suspected of having meningitis, it is important to perform a lumbar puncture (“spinal tap”), in which spinal fluid (known as cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) is collected for testing. Other tests that may also be done are:
- blood culture;
- chest x-ray;
- CSF examination for cell count, glucose and protein;
- CT scan of the head; and
- gram stain, other special stains, and culture of CSF.
Doctors prescribe antibiotics for bacterial meningitis. The type will vary depending on the bacteria causing the infection. Antibiotics are not effective in viral meningitis. Other medications and intravenous fluids will be used to treat symptoms such as brain swelling, shock and seizures. Some people may need to stay in the hospital, depending on the severity of the illness and the treatment needed. Early diagnosis and treatment of bacterial meningitis is essential to prevent permanent neurological damage. Viral meningitis is usually not serious and symptoms should disappear within two weeks with no lasting complications.
Davis Adams lawyers are medical malpractice experts.
Tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements validate our commitment to doing medical malpractice litigation—and doing it better than any other law firm. We are immersed in medical negligence litigation every day, quickly spotting trends as they develop, pioneering new legal strategies and tactics to combat the ever-changing insurance defense industry, and constantly discussing our clients’ cases with leading medical experts around the country. We are always honing our skills as injury attorneys. Nobody does it better.
Our reputation adds value.
Medical malpractice defense lawyers know us. Insurance claims adjusters know us. In fact, most all of the major players in the insurance defense industry in Georgia know who we are, and what we’re capable of doing in a courtroom. They know about our results, because they have seen us in action. And they know that when we pursue a case, we will never settle for anything less than fair treatment for our client in the form of full financial compensation. Choosing Davis Adams means leveraging our years of experience, and our reputation for excellence, to help maximize your recovery.
Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney matters.
Jess Davis and Chad Adams cut their teeth handling the most complex, high-stakes medical malpractice cases, typically regarded as among the most complicated of all personal injury matters. Racking up successful results for their clients in cases other medical malpractice lawyers were turning down, they quickly became “go-to” attorneys to whom other Georgia lawyers refer tough cases. How does this tangibly help our clients? We have the unique ability to quickly read and digest volumes of medical records, to pick up the telephone and speak confidently to our clients’ treating physicians about their diagnoses and prognoses, and to instantly reach the top medical experts in almost any field at the best hospitals and universities in the world to consult on our clients’ cases. This rare expertise is a game changer for our clients, and sets us apart from other personal injury firms who merely dabble in medical negligence cases.
We can help wherever you’re located.
Davis Adams is headquartered in metro Atlanta, but our reach is statewide. We routinely represent medical malpractice victims in Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Albany and other cities from Valdosta to Dalton, and anywhere between. Indeed, our geographic reach is evidenced by the fact that our firm’s largest settlement came in Fulton County, while our largest verdict ($10,000,000) came in rural Jefferson County. So, wherever you reside in Georgia, selecting the best lawyer is more important than hiring the closest lawyer. As a client, you have just one opportunity to obtain justice, and we are always honored when that chance it entrusted to us, wherever you happen to be located.
What is my medical malpractice case worth?
Most people who contact our firm do so reluctantly. They aren’t excited about the possibility of having to sue someone, and they understand that money won’t solve all of their problems—and certainly can’t heal their injury. But financial compensation is the only remedy available through the civil justice system; it’s the only form of justice the law allows under these circumstances. But we can only provide our clients with guidance as to the fair value of their cases after the case has been fully investigated. The factors we will consider include:
Economic damages, including:
- past medical bills;
- future/projected medical expenses, including life-care plans;
- past lost income; and
- future lost income.
Non-economic damages, including:
- physical pain and suffering
- mental or emotional pain and suffering
- loss of consortium (companionship)
- the full value of a life (in wrongful death cases)
Often cases are settled at mediation, which allows our clients to avoid the risk and emotional toll associated with trial, and to end their case with certainty. Other times, mediation is unsuccessful, and we proceed to trial and ask a jury to determine our client’s compensation. A significant percentage of our $75 million in recovered funds for our clients is the result of trial verdicts, meaning that the attorneys hired to defend negligent parties know we are fully prepared to meet them in a courtroom if the case cannot otherwise be resolved to our clients’ satisfaction.
Fewer cases, more personal attention, better results.
Davis Adams declines to accept the vast majority of cases presented to our firm. The fit has to be just right: the right client with the right type of case, where we feel like our firm can have the maximum positive impact. And while it may seem counterintuitive to turn down revenue-generating business, we are committed to doing outstanding, hands-on work for a limited number of catastrophically injured clients instead of employing a team of less experienced associate attorneys to churn through a high-volume workload. We simply refuse to become one of those law firms at which the experienced trial lawyers only get involved in the later stages of the case, if at all. From day one, our clients have the collective time, attention, energy, and experience of the seasoned medical malpractice attorneys who will be handling their case at trial, which translates to better representation, and better financial recoveries.
Other lawyers often ask, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to hire some young associate attorneys to handle the unimportant parts of your cases?” That question represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how medical malpractice cases are won or lost, and emphasizes the importance of hiring an experienced medical negligence attorney. There are no unimportant tasks in the cases we handle; victory is always in the details and is never achieved at the maximum level without bringing to bear the full weight of our firm’s substantial experience, dogged determination and blatant refusal to settle for less than our clients deserve.
We do not accept payment unless our client recovers money.
Davis Adams only represents injury victims on a contingency basis, which means that if we do not recover money for our clients, we refuse to accept payment for our services. Additionally, our contingency fee, while reflective of our firm’s quality and success, is nonetheless lower than the fee charged by some firms. We believe, and have proven, that building a financially successful law firm and keeping our fees and expenses to a minimum are not mutually exclusive concepts.