The national fungal meningitis outbreak has now affected more than 300 victims in at least 17 states, including New York. Authorities linked the outbreak to contaminated steroids from a compounding pharmacy, suggesting that a wave of lawsuits will soon try to hold that company accountable.
While the disease has claimed 24 lives thus far, most of the victims will recover. Many of them will, however, face long-term meningitis effects. These conditions can include severe mental and physical impairments. As one professor from Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine said, "there is the likelihood of long-term disability."
Social Security disability benefits may be available to help these victims. These benefits are available for Americans who can no longer support themselves by working, regardless of the source of a disability. Even if a condition or disorder is not one of the Social Security Administration's listed impairments, many meningitis survivors will be able to demonstrate that they are unable to work.
Since so many people will likely try to sue the pharmacy, experts expect that it will not have enough insurance to cover all of the lawsuits. Social Security benefits could help these victims move on with their lives even if they are unable to recover money from a meningitis case.
Anyone who expects to face the long-term effects of the fungal meningitis outbreak should consult with an experienced Social Security attorney to learn more about potential benefits.
Source: Wall Street Journal, "Lawsuits Mount as Meningitis Deaths Rise," Thomas M. Burton, Oct. 21, 2012
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