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How Much Compensation Can I Claim For A Needlestick Injury?

By Michael Patrick. Last Updated 12th February 2021. Welcome to our guide on needlestick injury claims. A needlestick injury (sometimes referred to as ‘sharps’ injuries) can occur whenever a needle (or another sharp instrument) accidentally penetrates a patient’s skin. In the medical profession, this is referred to as a percutaneous injury and – if the needle or sharp object is contaminated – it is possible for the injury to transmit infections and cause other serious health problems.

Needlestick injuries can happen whenever the skin gets punctured by a hypodermic needle, a scalpel, or during a tattoo appointment. Depending on the case in question, this can cause swelling, bleeding, and tenderness to any part of the body. Needles may contain traces of blood, bodily fluids, and other contaminations. This can cause long-term, debilitating health concerns.

For example, in the case of needle stick injury, NHS healthcare workers could be accidentally pricked by a needle that has been contaminated with a patient’s blood. If so, there is the possibility that an infection that was present in the patient’s blood can be transferred to the healthcare worker. Hospital and healthcare workers are perhaps the group most at risk from this type of injury. But they are not alone.

An infected needlestick can transmit as many as 20 diseases. It is important to note that most of these injuries are caused by clinical negligence, negligent work procedures, or work-related accidents. However, you may be able to make a needlestick injury compensation claim should you be the victim of such an injury. If you would like to learn more, this guide is designed to provide all the information you need.

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A Guide to Accident Claims for Needlestick Injuries

Needlestick Injury Compensation

Needlestick Injury Compensation

Needlestick injuries can result in the transmission of multiple diseases, should the needle or sharp object which caused the injury to be contaminated. In addition to the pain, swelling, and physical symptoms such an injury may cause, these infections can be severe. If you have been the victim of an injury, you may be able to make a needlestick injury claim.

This guide is designed to illustrate the process needed to win needlestick injury compensation payouts. In this guide, we will explore the compensation process: how to begin a claim, when to start a claim, and how a needlestick injury at work can impact your life. We will also look into the common symptoms of such damages and the causes, the locales, and the people involved in such accidents.

We will even discuss the average payout for needle stick injury and how these totals are decided. Finally, we will examine the added benefit of hiring a legal firm to help with your claim.

What is Needlestick Injury?

Needlestick injury claims

Needlestick injury claims

A needlestick injury (used interchangeably with ‘needle stick injury’) is caused by a sharp object or needle accidentally puncturing the skin. It can also be referred to as a sharps injury or a percutaneous injury. Such injuries are most commonly caused by needles used in healthcare environments, though there are other ways in which such an injury could be caused. Tattooing needles, scalpels, and – essentially – any other sharp object may result in this type of injury. If the injury has resulted in a serious health concern, then you may be owed compensation.

As well as the various contaminations that can result from this issue, there are several physical symptoms. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Tenderness at the area of the puncture.
  • Swelling on or around the affected area.
  • Bleeding as a result of the skin puncture.

However, it is the infections which can frequently be the most problematic result of a needlestick injury. Viruses, bacteria, and other contaminations can be transmitted if, for instance, a needle contains traces of blood or bodily fluids. In the world of needle stick injury policy & procedure, contaminated needles should be disposed of properly. If they have infected another patient, causing contamination or a physical symptom, then you may be owed compensation.

What to do if you are Involved in Accident Causing a Needlestick Injury

In the event that you have been involved in a needlestick injury, there are several steps which you can take to improve a future compensation claim. While your first course of action should always be to seek medical attention, attempting to do the following can also be useful. We advise that you:

  • Record the incident: if you will be making a compensation claim, it is crucial to have evidence. Following the injury, it can help to take photographs. If there are visible signs of bruising or physical symptoms, photographic evidence of this can be useful, mostly if the wounds are healed by the time of a possible needle stick injury lawsuit.
  • Gather together your medical records: depending on where the accident occurred, you should be able to document the process. For example, if it happened during a hospital appointment, gather your medical records and any reports of the incident. Alternatively, if the accident occurred in a tattoo parlour, you may try to gather the appointment bookings and any communications to use as evidence.
  • Reach out to a solicitor: legal wranglings following medical incidents can be complicated. Having a trained expert to help guide you through the process can drastically improve your winning compensation chances.

Given the nature of needle stick injuries, contamination, and infection can be diagnosed after the initial incident and symptoms might not be visible at first. Whenever you find out about a potential accident, you should begin thinking about possible legal proceedings as soon as you have sought medical assistance.

Needle Stick Injury NICE Guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published detailed guidelines on what to do if you get a needle stick injury. Let’s take a look:

  • The guidelines are all based on the following 4 preventative measures, also referred to as interventions. These are:
    • Hand hygiene – simply washng hands properly has the potential, according to one study reviewed, to reduce the the spread of the likes of respiratory infections by 45%.
    • The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – NICE recommend that gloves be worn for the likes of invasive procedures, contact with sterile sites and any activities that carry the risk of exposure to blood. Gloves should be single-use and discarded as clinical waste.
    • Proper use and disposal of sharps – all sharps injuries are considered preventable, and their need for proper disposal as clinical waste is vital. It’s estimated that the average risk of contracting the following infections following a needle stick injury are:
      • Hepatitis B – 1 in 3, or 33.3%
      • Hepatitis C – 1 in 30, or 3.3% – a useful statistic if you’ve been wondering can you get hep C from a needlestick.
      • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – 0.31%, or 1 in 319.
    • Education of patients, carers and healthcare personnel – everyone involved in providing care should be trained in hand decontamination, use of PPE and the safe disposal of sharps.

If your employer requires you to work with sharps and needles and you feel they have not complied with their legal duties, you could be entitled to compensation if you suffered a needlestick injury as a result. Get in touch with our friendly team today for more free legal advice and support.

How to Begin a Needlestick Injury Claim

Once you have realised that you may have a compensation claim, taking the next step can be tricky. If you have followed the advice in the previous section, you will likely have some evidence of the events surrounding your accident. If this is the case, then you may find yourself asking what to do next. Needlestick injury protocol and needle stick injury case law can be complicated and obtuse. With this in mind, we always recommend that potential claimants hire legal assistance if they wish to begin a claim. But how does this process work?

If you were to contact our firm, our first order of business would be to arrange for you to have a free consultation session with a member of our team. In this session, you will be able to present both your evidence and your story. We will listen and go over every detail with you, providing a thorough examination of your needle stick injury claim. We will be able to tell you how likely we believe your claim will be to succeed and provide a rough estimate of potential settlement amounts. This is a no-obligation session, so you are not compelled to stick with us following the consultation.

However, should you decide to hire our team, we can begin the process of claiming on your behalf. We can conduct further fact-finding activities. We can arrange for you to meet with a local doctor and have the full extent of your injuries diagnosed. We can inform you of our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement, which could reduce the financial risk of making a claim. We can also begin the administrative side of the procedure and start issuing the relevant paperwork to those involved. Should you hire our law firm, beginning your claim can be a lot easier.

What can be claimed for After an Accident Causing a Needlestick Injury

As in many compensation claims, the final settlement total will not be based on a single factor. Though the severity of the injury will be hugely influential in reaching this total (as we will see below), there are several damages, expenses, and claims which can be added together to reach the final amount. These include:

  • General Damages: you can claim general damages in order to compensate you for the hardships, pain, and mental anguish you must have endured as a result of the injury. These factors are often difficult to quantify monetarily.
  • Care Claims: in situations where help is needed due to the injury, the expenses of hiring such a person can be claimed as part of the compensation process.
  • Loss of Earnings: if you have needed to take time away from work or your ability to work has been restricted by the injury, then you may be able to claim the value of the lost earnings as part of your compensation.
  • Travel Expenses: If your injury has required you to travel – such as back and forth to medical appointments – then you may be able to claim for these costs, which could be fuel or train fares.
  • Medical Expenses: needlestick injuries will likely need medical treatment and – should these prove expensive – you can claim these expenses back, including private healthcare, should it be required.

It should be noted that the needlestick injury claim value will largely depend on the severity of the injury, though this should not limit your scope when seeking compensation.

The Most Common Causes of Needlestick Injury

Of all the accidents involving needlestick injuries, the most common environment for such accidents involves healthcare. With a large number of needles, sharp objects, and potential sources of contamination, examining the most common causes of needlestick injuries is akin to examining the various ways in which healthcare professionals are at risk. Potential causes of such accidents include:

  • Improper disposal of needles and other sharp objects.
  • Lack of (or improper use of) protective equipment in work or in the high-risk environment.
  • Failure to follow the advised procedure during medication administration.
  • Fatigue, high pressure, and generally, adverse working conditions can be responsible. For instance, needlestick injuries occur predominantly during night shifts.

Needlestick injuries may be minor, resulting in a small amount of bleeding, but the risk of viral or bacterial infection remains very high. In healthcare environments, this risk is exacerbated.

Needle Stick Injury Statistics

Since the introduction of statutes like the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, employers are required to do more to protect us from needle stick injuries and sharps injuries at work. However, accidents still occur, and you’d be surprised to hear some of the statistics:

  • According to a recent survey by SERMO (the leading global network for doctors), it was found that 94% of practising UK surgeons have either witnessed a colleague experience a needlestick injury or have suffered one themselves.
  • Only 2% of the surgeons asked disclosed that they had not in their careers experienced a sharps injury or needlestick injury.
  • It’s estimated that the cost of nedlestick injuries to the NHS in England each year is £127m, working out at about £500,000 per NHS Trust.
  • The survey also found that 93% of UK surgeons believed that high-quality gloves would reduce the risk of sharps injuries.

These figures just go to show how common a needle stick injury in a hospital can be. If you’ve been affected by such an incident and are wondering what to do if you get a needle stick injury, get in touch with our team today for free legal advice. Alternatively, please keep reading to learn more.

Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190925/Survey-9425-of-UK-surgeons-have-encountered-a-needlestick-injury.aspx

Who is at Risk of Needlestick Injury?

As we previously addressed in the earlier sections of this guide, employers must ensure they uphold their duty of care – ensuring safe practice and a hazard-free working environment are a top priority. However, despite this lawful duty, there are circumstances where an error can occur, resulting in an accident. It is for that reason why we have taken the time to include some workplace statistics within this guide. However, please note that the statistics provided are not in direct relation to negligence.

It was documented by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that there 1.6 million workers that suffered from an illness or injury due to their place of work. In addition to this statistic, it was reported that 111 workers were fatally wounded, and an estimated 38.8 million in costs were lost as a result of ill health or injury.

To combat accidents and illnesses within the workplace from occurring, there are various measures that can be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Providing members of staff with suitable PPE.
  • Offering extensive and up to date training.
  • Carrying out routine inspections and risk assessments of the workspace.

Needlestick Injuries Caused Through Medical Negligence

Even in the highly managed and regulated UK medical industry, needlestick injuries can still occur as the result of medical negligence. The perpetual possibility of human error makes such issues difficult to eradicate entirely. For example, there are as many as 80,000 reported needlestick injuries in the NHS each year, meaning that both patients and healthcare workers can be at risk in cases of medical negligence.

You can claim compensation for the needlestick injuries if they occur as the result of medical negligence. Depending on the healthcare facility, you may be making a claim against either a private hospital or against the NHS. Medical negligence could involve a failure to provide protective equipment and clothing, incorrect disposal of needles and sharp objects, and a failure to maintain a safe and risk-free environment. Discussing the claim with our legal team can be illustrative of the liabilities in your particular case.

Needlestick Injuries at Work

It is essential to mention that, even though needlestick injuries tend to be far higher in medical environments, they still occur in work environments outside of the world of healthcare. If you sustain a needle stick injury at work, the question of responsibility and liability may be asked.

However, one important thing to note is that it is the employer or contractor’s legal duty to secure the work environment and protect the staff and visitors against the risk of needlestick injury at work. At frequent intervals, the employer should carry out risk assessment procedures and ensure that all hazards are eliminated. The employer must also provide the right safety equipment for workers to ensure that accidents like this do not occur.

You can claim against an employer should you sustain a needlestick injury at work. All you need do is to follow the procedure listed in this guide and begin a compensation claim. We are always available to guide and pursue the case on your behalf.

Needlestick Injury in a Public Place

As in the case of injuries at work, any public place’s occupier must keep it safe for visitors. In this instance, a public place can refer to bars, supermarkets, clubs, banks, amusement parks, tattoo parlours, car parks, and so on. The owner or the operator of the public place is mandated by law to keep it safe for visitors and may be liable for any sharps or needlestick injuries which occur on the premises.

If you ever sustain a needlestick injury in a public place, you may be able to take action by making a compensation claim. Following the processes as listed above will help you to initiate the process. You can contact us for a free consultation session at any time.

Assessing the Severity of a Needlestick Injury

If needlestick injuries are not properly handled, they have the potential to cause more problems in the future. As a result, any compensation claim amount will be determined by the severity of the injury in both the long- and short-term. For example, a minor injury does not carry the same weighting as a major injury and, therefore, the amount that can be claimed will differ.

It is crucial to assess the severity of the injury before making any claim. To access the seriousness of a needlestick injury, the following is required:

  • A complete medical examination to ascertain the extent of the injury or the severity of the injury. Our law firm is able to arrange such an examination with a doctor local to you.
  • A full report detailing the medical extent of the injury, both now and in the future.
  • A description of how the injury has affected your life might include an inability to work or a loss of mobility, which can be a demonstration of the severity of the injury.

Once gathered together, the above evidence will be evaluated and will form a key part of the settlement total.

How Much Compensation Will I Get After an Accident Causing a Needlestick Injury?

The average payout for needlestick injury will depend on the type and severity of your injury. With the potential implications of such injuries ranging across such a broad spectrum, it is not only difficult to provide an estimate as to settlement totals, but it is also challenging to find a comparative medical model. The table below gives a necessary indication of some of the types of injuries caused by a needlestick type of wound.

Type of injurySeverity Symptoms Payout
Stab wounds ModeratePenetrating stab wounds£5,000 to £9,575
Hand InjuryModeratePenetrating wounds£4,100 to £10,100
Stomach InjuryModeratePenetrating injuries causing some permanent damage but with an eventual return to natural function and control.£9,575 to £18,600

We recommend discussing the matter with one of our experts for a more nuanced estimate of your potential settlement amount.

No Win No Fee Needlestick Injury Claim

Pursuing a compensation claim can be time consuming and expensive. If you’ve suffered a debilitating injury and find your ability to earn money affected, you may struggle with those law firms that want to charge high fees.

We can provide you with a different option. Our ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement can make your needle stick injury claim much, much easier. Rather than charging upfront, we can arrange for our costs to be taken from the final settlement amount. This arrangement – also called a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ – can be used to reduce the upfront cost of hiring legal help and can reduce the risk attached to making a claim. If the case isn’t successful, we won’t charge you.

When you’re seeking compensation, we can make your life easier.

Why Should You Choose Us as Your Claims Service for a Needlestick Injury Claim?

We have a considerable amount of experience in winning compensation claims for our clients. We want to help as many people as possible reclaim the damages and expenses they are owed. If you have suffered from a needle stick injury NHS or private, we can be of assistance in a healthcare facility or anywhere else. We offer the best blend of experience, expertise, professionalism, and knowledge to make compensation claims stress free.

We have handled many compensation claim cases for our clients, and we are committed to ensuring that anyone who has a good case is successful. We can offer a range of benefits for potential clients, including:

  • A ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement.
  • Arranging an appointment with a local doctor.
  • Offering a free, no-obligation legal consultation session.
  • Providing world-class customer service to make your life easier.

When dealing with needle stick injury claims, there’s no one better suited. We can handle every single aspect of your case, so call today for more information.

Call for Free Advice and To Start a Claim

If you have suffered a needlestick injury at work or anywhere else, we can help you with your compensation claim. We are ready to offer you a free consultation session to help you understand the situation and provide guidance throughout the case.

For anyone interested in needlestick injury compensation claims, you can either fill out the contact form on our website or call 0800 073 8804. We’ll arrange for a consultation and help you win the compensation you are owed.

Helpful Links

NHS What should I do if I injure myself with a used needle?

This NHS Link is a guide if you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle to immediately aid advice.

HSE Sharps injuries

Sharps injuries are a risk in the health and social care sector. Sharps contaminated with an infected patient’s blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including hepatitis B, C and (HIV) human immunodeficiency virus.

Click here to read our guide to accidents at work

If you’ve suffered harm in an accident at work, this personal injury claims guide will help.

If you’ve suffered a needlestick injury in a care home, this guide may be useful

If you or a loved one has suffered harm in a care home or nursing home, this guide will tell you more.

To learn more about medical negligence, head here

Our detailed guide to medical negligence claims.

Needlestick Injury Claims FAQ

How common is needle stick injury?

As we’ve seen above, in some settings needle stick injuries can be quite common. For example, 94% of UK surgeons have reported either witnessing or experiencing a needlestick injury.

Can you get an STD from a needlestick?

While you can’t get STDs or STIs from needlestick injuries, you can develop blood borne infections like HIV and hepatitis B and C, as well as up to 20 other infections. It’s important to wash the wound thoroughly and seek urgent medical advice.

How many sharps injuries occur annually in the UK?

A study by Biomedicine International (2010) estimated that 100,000 needlestick injuries occur in the UK each year.

 

Thank you for reading our guide to needlestick injury claims.

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