Needlestick Injury at Work: Making a Claim
Find out how much your personal injury claim may be worth
Have you suffered a needlestick injury whilst carrying out your job? Then you should seek legal advice from an expert in needlestick injury compensation claims.
What is a Needlestick Injury?
A needlestick injury can be caused by a sharp instrument, such as a needle, blade (such as scalpel) or other medical instruments penetrating the skin. This is sometimes called a percutaneous injury.
This type of injury most commonly occurs amongst healthcare workers, for example, when a professional receives an injury from a hypodermic needle that is intended for a patient, however, exposure can also happen in restrooms, parks and other public places when needles are not disposed of properly, for example, if they have been used to inject illegal drugs. There is a risk of severe infection, as well as what can be an unpleasant puncture wound. When someone has used a needle, viruses in their blood may contaminate it. Therefore, if a sharp accidentally pierces someone’s skin, the infection could be transmitted to that person. The risk of infection can also lead to severe distress and trauma for the person injured by the needle or sharp object.
If you have suffered a needlestick injury at work, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
What are Sharps?
‘Sharps’ are tools such as needles, blades (such as scalpels) and other medical instruments, such as syringes, and lancets, and glass from broken equipment, that are used every day by healthcare workers and could cause an injury by cutting, pricking, or piercing the skin. Sharps can also be used at home by people suffering from certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis. Once used, sharps are considered “biohazardous waste” and should be disposed of properly to avoid the risk of injury from a contaminated needle.
What to do if you Have Suffered a Needlestick Injury?
If you pierce or puncture your skin with a needle, regardless of whether the injury was caused by a sterile needle or one of unknown status, it is essential to treat every needlestick injury immediately, and then to seek medical attention and possibly immunisation against Tetanus and Hepatitis B. Follow the eight steps below:
1. If in possession, put the needle down somewhere safe.
2. Hold the wound under running water and try to encourage it to bleed
3. Wash the wound use running water and plenty of soap.
4. Do not scrub or suck the wound
6. Dry the wound and cover it with a sterile pad, dressing or plaster.
7. Seek urgent help from your GP or nearest A&E department
8. Report this injury to your employer.
Also, if it can be done safely, you should also try to preserve the needle so that it can be analysed later, especially if it was not sterile.
What are the Risks of Needlestick Injuries?
Even a needlestick injury from a sterile needle can cause an awful wound and severe bruising, and that’s assuming that you did not receive any of the solution that may have been in the syringe. The main risk of needlestick injury is the potential risk of infection, such as blood-borne viruses (BBV). Transmission of infection can occur in cases where the injury involves a sharp object that has been contaminated with blood or bodily fluid from a patient.
In cases like these, serious illnesses such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are all potential risks.
The transmission of infection depends on several factors, including the person’s natural immune system. The number of needlestick injuries each year is high, however, only a small amount are known to have caused infections that led to serious illness.
That is why it is essential to seek medical treatment, and analysis of the needle concerned, whenever you have received a puncture wound from a needle. You should also seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity in case you need to make a claim for compensation.
Who is at Risk of Needlestick Injury at Work?
Workers in health and social care settings are particularly vulnerable to this kind of accident from:
- Incorrect disposal of used needles
- Defective equipment
- Lack of protective clothing or equipment, such as gloves
- Fatigue after doing long hours
- Medical negligence
These factors also include those who directly handle medical sharps, however, ther are employees who may inadvertently be put at risk when needles are not disposed of or stored of correctly, such as:
- Prison officers
- Refuse workers
Needle Stick Injuries at Work: The Law
Health and safety law provides protection to employees at risk from sharps injuries, just as it does to other risks from work activities. Relevant legislation includes:
· Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
· Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002
· Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999
· Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)
Do I Need to Report a Needlestick Injury?
There are strict procedures which your employer must follow for reporting specific types of workplace injury. These rules are laid out in The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.
When your employer reports an accident, the HSE and local authorities will be notified. They will then decide if an investigation is required and whether there is a continued risk to you and other employees. A needlestick injury is very serious and falls under RIDDOR, regardless of the severity of the wound.
Is my Employer Liable for a Needlestick Injury Compensation Claim?
Anybody who has suffered a needlestick injury at work due to their employer’s negligence is usually eligible to make a claim for compensation. Below are some examples of how your employer may have been at fault for your accident:
· Neglected to implement the relevant health and safety regulations.
· Failed to provide appropriate or adequate training
· Failed to provide you with adequate and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) or the correct equipment to carry out your job.
· Required you to carry out a task for which you weren’t qualified.
Every employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are protected by proper health and safety procedures and protective equipment wherever there is any possibility of a needlestick injury. Where this has not been the case, you may have a case for claiming compensation on the grounds of your employer’s negligence.
We will only advise you to proceed with a needlestick injury compensation claim if we believe there are reasonable prospects of it being successful.
Why Make a Needle Stick Injury at Work Claim?
There are many reasons for making an accident at work claim. One of the most common reasons for making a claim following an accident is to make sure the same accident does not happen to others. Highlighting professional or clinical negligence after a needle stick injruy at work will help to ensure that safer practices are put in place by your employer.
If you have been injured as a result of your employer’s negligence, it is your right to make a claim to achieve justice. Compensation may not change what happened, however, it can assist you in the recovery process, especially if you are required to pay for treatment, or have had to take time off work as a result.
How Much is my Needlestick Injury Claim Worth?
Every injury claim is different. Therefore, it is difficult to give an accurate figure before your solicitor has investigated the details and started negotiating with the other side. Needlestick injury compensation amounts vary depending on the nature and severity of your injury, recovery time and your long-term prognosis. Medical reports from an expert may be required to help assess this. However, where negligence has been a factor, you may be eligible to claim for loss of earnings, medical treatment, and travel expenses as well as for your pain and suffering. We handle most cases of this sort and seek maximum compensation for you.
The Process of Making a Needlestick Injury Claim
If you have suffered a needlestick injury or an injuery caused by a sharp object as the result of another person’s negligence, whether it be due to medical negligence, an accident at work or an accident in a public place contact us today to find out if you could make a claim.
You can complete our online contact form, and one of our specialist needle stick injury lawyers will contact you when convenient. Alternatively, you can call us direct on 0330 1332 857 or email us email@example.com We are keen to help you make a successful needlestick injury at work claim on a no win no fee basis to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
How can Beacon Law Assist?
Beacon Law is a specialist personal injury law firm which provides a team of highly qualified Solicitors and legal professionals with many years of experience in all types of injury matters. Our friendly staff treat each injured person with the respect and compassion they deserve throughout their case whilst providing a high level of professionalism.
We will keep you updated via text, email, phone, or letter throughout the claim process. We boast an impressive success rate, and we’ll help you move on, if you need ongoing support after the case we can help you out.
Beacon Law is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. To find out about more about how we can help you get a successful claim and how we can help you with your legal fees, extremely have a look at the funding section on our website.