A needlestick injury is an injury that is caused when a sharp object or instrument such as a needle, knife or scalpel pierces the skin. These injuries are also known as sharp injuries or percutaneous injuries. Bleeding, tenderness and swelling at the site of the puncture are some of the more obvious risks in case of a needlestick injury. However, the bigger and often invisible danger arises if the instrument that caused the injury is contaminated with the blood of an infected person. This could happen in any workplace but is most common in clinical facilities because of the sheer volume of sharp instruments used.
If you are at the receiving end of a needlestick injury that was caused due to somebody else’s mistake, you should contact a personal injury solicitor and explore your legal options to claim compensation. Your solicitor will give you the best advice after hearing all the facts of the case.
Common Reasons For Claiming Compensation For A Needlestick Injury
Needlestick injuries can happen almost anywhere and at any time. While you may not be able to claim compensation if your injury was caused due to your own fault, you are legally entitled to be compensated if you were injured in the workplace due to no fault of yours.
The most common circumstances under which work-related needlestick injuries occur are clinical negligence and negligent work procedures.
Needlestick Injuries Due To Clinical Negligence
All healthcare facilities in the UK are legally required to put strict measures in place for responsible storage and/ or disposal of all used medical items including used needles and other sharp instruments. Despite this, there are various needlestick injuries reported every year. A large percentage of these injuries take place in the operating theatre, in the Accident and Emergency ward and during various clinical procedures that are carried out in wards.
When hypodermic needles and other sharp medical devices are handled carelessly or not disposed of properly, they pose a risk to anyone who accidentally comes into contact with them.
Whether you are a healthcare professional, or a patient in a hospital, you may be entitled to compensation if you are injured due to negligent disposal of needles.
Needlestick Injury Due To Negligent work procedures
Certain professions, such as waste disposal workers, are at high risk for needlestick injuries. They could get injured while picking up rubbish or while dropping it off. According to the Health and Safety Act, all employers are legally required to provide workers with proper personal protective equipment to protect them from any common work-related injuries, including needlestick injuries.
Because of the high risk of getting cut or injured from sharp objects in the rubbish, employers are required to provide waste disposal operatives with thick protective gloves, safety goggles, and other personal protective gear. It is equally important for employers to provide waste disposal workers with training in safe waste disposal. If you have suffered a needlestick injury due to faulty or incorrect PPE you may also wish to refer to our PPE claims guide here.
If your employer fails to provide any one of the above and if you are injured as a result, your employer is liable to compensate you for your injuries.
Reducing The Risks Of Needlestick Injuries At Work
Employers have to ensure the safety of their workers from all types of injuries. These are just some of the things that employers can do to reduce the risks of needlestick injuries:
- Provide workers with personal protective equipment that is appropriate for the workplace and for the specific type of work that the employer is entrusted with. For workers who are at high risk of coming in contact with sharp devices or discarded needles, personal protective equipment may include heavy duty gloves, safety boots, knee pads, litter pickers and tongs.
- Ensure that all workers undergo extensive training on how to handle and dispose of needles and other sharp instruments.
- Provide special bins for disposal of sharp instruments and needles and ensure that these are used for the purpose.
- Empty sharp bins regularly and replace with a fresh bin to prevent accidents from over-filled bins.
- Provide workers who handle discarded needles with adequate protection to minimise the risk of any sharp injury.
- Make sure workers who handle sharp equipment regularly are up to date with the Tetanus and Hepatitis B vaccinations.
Regardless of the workplace, if your needlestick injuries are caused because your employer failed to take the appropriate protective measures, you should talk to a legal expert to determine whether you have a strong case for claiming compensation.
Do You Need A Solicitor For A Needlestick Injury Compensation Claim?
Claiming compensation for any type of injury, needlestick or otherwise, can be extremely complicated and time-consuming. Moreover, because you will probably be fighting against highly experienced insurance lawyers who know every play in the book, the odds are stacked strongly against you. Unless you are familiar with personal injury law, the fact is you have very slim chances of winning compensation and even if you do, chances are you will not get the full amount that is due to you.
Personal injury solicitors are well-versed with the law and have the experience and expertise to take on any defence lawyer. They will use all their resources to make sure that you are duly compensated for your pain and suffering, all short and long term medical expenses, loss of earnings, cost of therapy or counselling and any other expenses associated with the needlestick injury.
To make it easier for you to get the compensation due to you, our personal injury solicitors will work for you on the basis of a No Win No Fee agreement. This agreement essentially states that any legal fees are waived off until such time that the case is closed and the court decides in your favour. If you don’t win, which is very rare, you don’t have to pay any legal fees. You only pay if you win needlestick injury claim and then too you are only required to pay a set percentage of your total award. You keep the major portion of the compensation awarded to you.
If you think you have a needlestick injury claim then get in touch with us today and we’ll give you our expert opinion on what compensation you may be due.