Needlestick Injury Compensation Claims

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Needlestick injuries can be nasty. Being accidentally pricked by a used syringe can result in anything from a minor nick to an extremely dangerous infection. In the most severe cases, a sharps injury can turn your life on its head – and even in less serious cases, it can involve high amounts of distress and anxiety. But how and where do these incidents happen, and what are your rights to claim compensation if you find yourself affected?

Table of contents:

What is a needlestick injury?

A needlestick injury describes any incident in which the skin is accidentally punctured, or badly scratched, by a syringe or other sharp object.

By their nature, syringes and sharps can puncture skin relatively easily, although the immediate wounds tend to be fairly minor. The greater danger lies in the possible infections that contaminated needles can carry. We also have a long understanding of the psychological stress that this type of incident can cause.
Sadly, accidents involving syringes and other sharps (such as medical scalpels) are common. Several years ago, the Royal College of Nursing estimated that around 100,000 needlestick injuries were reported in the NHS every year, and now the pandemic has increased this further.

Workplace needlestick accidents

Certain workplaces carry a higher risk of coming into contact with contaminated syringes, most commonly doctors’ surgeries, medical centres, and hospitals. The same can apply to jobs in waste disposal, cleaning, and tattoo parlours. However, we know the list doesn’t end there.

Construction sites and vacant buildings can attract intravenous drug users, which in turn can mean stray sharps being left in places you wouldn’t normally think to check.

Demolition and maintenance workers can also find themselves encountering syringes in unexpected places. We’ve even dealt with a needlestick injury claim from a repair worker sent to mend a broken washing machine in a laundrette.

Regardless of your profession, if you’ve been involved in a workplace needlestick injury that wasn’t your fault, you may be in a position to make a claim. Certainly you should be aware of your rights and your employer’s responsibility to avoid such accidents by maintaining a safe working environment.

What should I do if I get a needlestick injury?

First up: first aid. No matter where the accident occurs, your immediate priority should be to make the wound as safe and sterile as possible, to minimise the risk of infection.

Wash (but don’t scrub) the affected area with soap and water. If you have access to running water, allow the wound to bleed out as you hold it under the tap, then dry it and cover it with a waterproof plaster.

Then seek urgent medical advice from your GP surgery, or NHS 111. If the accident is a bad one, it can be sensible to head straight to your nearest A&E ward.

Needlestick injuries carry the very real risk of diseases such Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV – as well as other less common but equally serious conditions – so heeding the advice above is crucial. The NHS website also has further advice on how to treat a needlestick injury.

What you will need to claim compensation

Once you’ve tended to the wound, record the accident in as much detail as possible. Where, when and how did it happen? Take photographs of the incident if you can, including pictures of any bruising, inflammation or bleeding caused by the accident.

Take a note of the names and contact details of witnesses, if relevant, and where possible you should make an official log of the incident in your company’s accident book.

Keep all records of any medical appointments, prescriptions or diagnoses. Arranging to be examined in person by a medical professional is always advisable, regardless of the severity of the accident.

Also think about who, if anyone, was to blame for the incident. Most clinical workplaces are fastidious about handling syringes, but needlestick injuries can nevertheless be the result of colleagues failing to properly dispose of used sharps. Was this the case? Or perhaps poor training, inadequate cleaning, managerial oversight or even medical negligence were the root cause of the accident? Whatever the situation, it’s always helpful to gather whatever proof and evidence you can to back up your case.

We have many years of experience of dealing with needlestick injuries, so feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. We’ll always give honest advice about your individual situation.

Why should I bother making a claim?

Firstly, there’s more than one way to be impacted by a needlestick injury.

Developing a bad blood infection is the most drastic result of a sharps incident. But even if this isn’t the case, there can be significant psychological distress involved if you’re waiting – sometimes a few months – for the relevant medical tests. The possible shock of a positive diagnosis, meanwhile, can also be severe.

Be aware that even if the results come back negative, you may still have a case for a claim for the period of anxiety you’ve been through.

In all cases, we’ll look at the facts to help you decide whether you’re in a position to make a claim. Has the accident affected your physical or mental health in a substantial way? And has it impacted your job and future career prospects, or your personal life, either in the short-term or the long-term?

If you have a strong case for a claim, the amount you’re fairly due depends on the circumstances around the accident, and how badly you’ve been affected by it. You can claim for lost earnings and other expenses as well as your injury and psychological damages – we’ll always advise you on the best course of action for your individual circumstances, to ensure you don’t miss out on the compensation you’re entitled to.

Health symptoms can often take time to appear, so it’s worth being aware that you generally have up to three years from the time of the accident to make a claim. In broad terms, the earlier you’re able to contact us, the better, but even if three years has elapsed, it’s always worth getting in touch to discuss your options.

Let us help

Might you be in a position to make a claim for a needlestick injury? You’re in safe hands with Direct2Compensation. Our advice is always honest, our claims process is transparent and effective, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with our no-win, no-fee approach.

To find out more, or to start your claim today, call us on 01225 430285. If you prefer, we can call you back. After just a few minutes on the phone, we’ll have enough information to allow our solicitors to get your claim started.

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Questions & Answers

  • Tracey

    I’m a cleaner at a doctors surgery.
    I was cleaning the couch and a needle was in the crease of the couch so I didn’t see it. It went in to my finger.
    I had to go to hospital fir blood test.
    Also have to go back in 6 weeks for another blood test.
    Then in 12 weeks to make sure I haven’t caught HIV or hepatitis.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      You have a valid right to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation. Whilst you may have avoided serious physical injury and may not go on to develop a serious blood born infection, you are able to claim compensation for the emotional and psychological trauma that will be caused to you during the anxious wait to see whether the incident has passed any nasty virus on to you.

      Reply
  • Kerry

    Hi I was cleaning in a dirty house – a hoarders house – and stepped on a dirty sewing needle that went through my shoe and into my foot. I have not been given any special protective footwear or respiratory mask or heavy duty gloves for this job and as a result of this I have had to have a tetanus shot and have pain in my foot from the injury.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Your injury was avoidable and your employer should have provided you with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for the work that they had tasked you with. The failure of the employer to protect you will be seen as employer negligence and you should succeed with a claim for compensation for the pain and discomfort of the injury and for the stress caused to you.

      Reply
  • Samantha

    As I unpacked my online grocery delivery 2 weeks ago and reached into the huge tray liner that it came in, a long needle type spike went right down the side of my right hand ring finger. It has not become infected thankfully but was sore for over a week, throbbing. I took photographs of my finger and the spike and sent them and an email to the supermarket that same evening. Since then I have had about 6 or 7 advisors email me to say I should take it back to Customer Services, (I do not go out) and to wait 24 or 48, then 72 hours for a reply, all saying different things, no one taking any ownership for it. Numerous times being told that they would contact the store that the delivery came from, and the manager would be in touch. I have heard nothing from the actual store, Finally today I have been contacted from the Injury Team who said it may be another 10 days for contact from the legal team, but I feel that I have only heard from them as I mentioned the word compensation. I type all day, that’s the main part of my job, and I have struggled since the injury, but have had to carry on as I would not have received sick pay etc. Am I wasting my time or am I entitled to any compensation? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      You may have valid grounds to pursue a claim and you have done the right thing in reporting the incident and documenting the injury. It would be sensible to await further contact from the legal team and see what they have to say before doing anything further.

      Reply
  • Donna

    Hi I’ve recently had a needle prick in my finger from a patient who left her needle on a plate. I’m a housekeeper and was collecting the patients pots. I’ve reported it and been to accident and emergency for my blood to be taken, wondering can I make a claim?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Yes, you can make a claim after suffering a needle stick injury.

      Reply
  • Candice

    Hi,

    I am known with a psychiatric illness and I had a needle stick injury at work on my first day.

    I thought I was fine but my psychiatric illness worsened to the point where I was finding it difficult to cope.

    I saw my psychiatrist who booked me off for two weeks and stated that the needle stick injury was a major contributor to my relapse and now my employer refuses to grant leave under Occupational injury.

    Please advise.

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      If your employer will not allow you to take leave under an occupational injury, that is their call. Whether or not they are right to take this action will need to be considered under employment law rights.

      We can however assist with the needle stick injury and a possible claim for compensation. When any person suffers a needle stick injury, there will be a level of stress and worry caused by the possibility of serious blood carried disease being delivered to them by the needle that pierced their skin. Whilst the possibility of a serious illness being sustained is slim, the stress and anxiety caused by waiting to get the all-clear is known to have a big impact on mental health and well-being. In your case, we would be interested to know what your work is and how you came to suffer the injury. You may well have a valid claim in this matter and probably do, so we would like to speak with you to offer assistance.

      Reply
  • Lee

    I work as a Labourer and recently I was asked to move a bag which my boss knew contained a used and dirty needle. I was told make sure I had my gloves on and not to touch it with my hands. While moving bag with my gloves on and aid of a litter picker, the bag burst at the bottom and the needle stabbed my leg. Now my boss is telling me to say that I didn’t know the needle was in the bag as it could come back on me?! I am just wondering what my rights are?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      You could claim compensation for the incident in which this dirty needle has punctured your leg. Without doubt you should report the correct and full details of the incident (as with any accident anywhere, the details should always be reported honestly), to your employer. There is no way that the incident could come back on you – if you were acting on your Managers instructions.

      Needle stick injuries usually don’t cause particularly serious physical injuries, but can include nerve damage in some cases. However, suffering a needle stick injury from a dirty ‘used’ needle could cause serious infection with life long illnesses. The only way to confirm whether or not such an infection has been suffered is to seek medical attention and undergo a blood test. During the wait for the outcome of the blood test, it is likely that the injured person will be stressed and worried.

      Reply
  • Sylvia

    Hello, I have an accident at work 4 weeks ago where while I was cleaning I’ve picked up a sticky ball paper off the desk where (I didn’t noticed there was a needle sticked to the paper) and I have stabbed my finger with it. The needle has been used to check blood sugar on someone and has been left on the desk. I had first aider. I have done accident report and then I went to hospital I’ve got blood taken and vaccinated. BUT my employer said it’s going to carry investigation to find out who left that used needle and it’s been one month and nothing has been done, feels like they want to brush it under the carpet. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Under UK law, you would be entitled to claim compensation in this matter. A needle stick injury presents a high risk of blood carried infection being transmitted. Of course, hopefully in your case no such infection will be an issue but the stress and worry whilst you await the outcome of blood tests is something for which you can make a claim.

      Reply
  • Marie

    I have recently received a needle stick injury. The stress of having to wait for the results and the blood tests I have to have is cause me to not sleep well. Which is now affecting my work. The organisation I was working for are now blaming me which is also causing stress for me and my family. Do you think I would have a case?

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      We have succeeded with many needle stick injury compensation claims throughout the years. You will succeed if the employer has failed to adequately risk assess your role and not provided the right personal protective equipment to minimise the risk of such injury.

      I’d recommend that you contact us so that we can take some further details from you and get this matter considered by our expert Solicitors as I would expect that they would wish to pursue a claim on your behalf.

      Reply
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