Sharps And Needlestick Injuries Leading To Hepatitis B – How To Claim

This guide aims to explain how to claim compensation for sharps and needlestick injuries. These kinds of injuries could cause people to contract diseases such as Hepatitis B

Sharps and needlestick injuries

Sharps and needlestick injuries claim guide

If you experienced this as a result of negligence, then you could be entitled to claim. This guide will look at the duty of care you’re owed and how this can be breached.

Furthermore, this guide will explain how to make a personal injury claim and the conditions that will affect eligibility. We’ve also included information on how to estimate the value of your claim using some examples.

You can reach us for more detailed guidance that considers your specific circumstances. You can reach us in the following ways:

Select A Section

  1. Who Could Suffer Sharps And Needlestick Injuries?
  2. Why Needlestick Injuries Are Dangerous
  3. Blood-Borne Viruses Transmitted By Needlestick Injuries
  4. Could I Claim For Injuries Caused By Sharps And Needlestick Injuries?
  5. Sharps Injuries Compensation Calculator
  6. How To Claim For Sharps And Needlestick Injuries

Who Could Suffer Sharps And Needlestick Injuries?

People in certain job roles are at a higher risk of accidents resulting in needlestick injury than others. For example, if you’re a nurse who works in a setting where needles and sharp instruments are used often, then you may be more likely to sustain this kind of injury than someone working in an office environment. 

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 outlines how chemical and biological materials should be handled and disposed of. Employers need to act in line with this in order to adhere to the duty of care that they owe. Furthermore, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 outlines the general duty that employers have to safeguard their workers as much as reasonably practicable. 

Not all needlestick injuries will be grounds for a successful compensation claim. For example, if you injure yourself on a sharp instrument because you picked it up without concentrating on what you were doing, then this would not be the result of negligence. Because of this, you would not be able to claim.

Is Hepatitis B Common In The UK?

The UK falls into the lowest bracket in terms of prevalence according to the world health organisation. The virus affects only 0.1% to  0.5% of the UK population according to the HSE.

Why Needlestick Injuries Are Dangerous

Sharps and needlestick injuries could be potentially dangerous and may lead to serious injuries or illnesses. The main risk is the possibility of being infected with blood-borne diseases. 

A blood-borne disease can be fatal. For example, you could contract HIV,  which can then lead to an acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS can be fatal and cause damage to your organs. Other viruses which may be causes of concern are Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

You might experience psychological injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of thinking you could have contracted a blood-borne disease, even if you don’t actually have it. For instance, if you think you’ve contracted HIV through a needlestick injury, then you will usually have to wait 2-4 weeks before you’re tested. Even if this test is negative, you could experience emotional pain and suffering in this interim. You could be compensated for this if the initial injury was caused by negligence.

For more information on the circumstances that could entitle you to pursue a claim, speak with an advisor today.

Blood-Borne Viruses Transmitted By Needlestick Injuries

Body fluids are to be handled with care due to the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases. These are some blood-borne viruses that could get transmitted by needlestick injuries:

  • West Nile virus (WNV)
  • Malarial parasites
  • Human T-lymphotropic retroviruses
  • Transfusion-transmitted virus (TTV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Prion agents, for example, are those that are linked with TSEs.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Hepatitis D

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an infection caused by a virus. It can be spread through blood and other bodily fluids. If you suspect you’ve been infected with hepatitis B within the last few days, you can be given treatment to stop you from becoming infected. 

Hepatitis B affects the liver, and if it’s left untreated for a long period of time can cause liver problems. This could include cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Could I Claim For Injuries Caused By Sharps And Needlestick Injuries?

In order for your claim to be valid, you need to prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care; 
  • This duty of care was breached; and 
  • The breach caused you harm

You should provide evidence in support of your claim; a personal injury lawyer could help you with the process of collecting this. The evidence you could provide in support of your claim could include:

  • Medical records. For example, the details of any tests you’ve had to take could support your claim.
  • CCTV footage, if relevant
  • An accident book report. If your workplace employs more than 10 people, you should have an accident book on site. Fill this out after the injury, and the report could be used to support your claim.

For more information on the evidence you could provide in support of your claim, speak with our advisors today. They’ll be happy to offer you free legal advice about the process of claiming.

Sharps Injuries Compensation Calculator

If you make a successful claim, your compensation could consist of general damages and special damages.

General damages cover the pain and suffering caused by your needle injury. The general damages would cover physical as well as emotional pain. On the other hand, special damages recover financial losses due to your injury.

For example, if you couldn’t work because of your injuries, you could recover the loss of earnings. Any prescription costs and transportation costs due to your injury can also be covered under special damages.

Legal professionals can use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to assist them in valuing claims. Related injuries and their corresponding compensation, which we’ve used to create the table below, have been taken from the April 2022 version of the JCG.

InjuryNotesAmounts
Kidney Where both kidneys are lost or damaged permanently £169,400 to
£210,400

Kidney Where there is a significant risk of total loss of natural kidney function. Up to £63,980
Kidney Loss of one kidney without the other being damaged. £30,770 to
£44,880
Spleen Loss of spleen, ongoing risk of infection because of the impact on immune system £20,800 to
£26,290
Spleen The ongoing risk of internal infection is minimal or not present £4,350 to
£8,640
DeathFull awareness for a short period before fluctuating consciousness for 4-5 weeks before death within 3 months £12,540 to £23,810
Mental anguish Fear of impending death or of life expectancy being reduced £4,670
Mental damage Moderately severe harm, entailing significant problems with all areas of life with a more optimistic prognosis than in more serious cases. £19,070 to £54,830
Mental damage Moderate harm, entailing the sort of problems with all areas of life; however, improvement will be good. £5,860 to £19,070
Mental damage Less severe harm; the level of award will consider the length of period of disability among other things. £1,540 to £5,860

For a more accurate assessment of the value of your claim, speak with an advisor today. They can offer you free legal advice.

How To Claim For Sharps And Needlestick Injuries

If you’d like to have a lawyer working on your claim, but are worried about affording legal representation, one of our solicitors could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This could include you being offered a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). 

A CFA could be cost-effective compared to paying your solicitor in the usual way because you do not need to pay upfront or ongoing legal fees. Additionally, you will not pay your lawyer for their services if your claim is unsuccessful.

If your claim is successful, a small percentage of your compensation will be deducted by your solicitor. The percentage that can be taken is capped by law, to ensure you retain most of your compensation. 

Using a legal firm with years of experience may make your claims process run more smoothly. You can reach us in any of these ways:

More of our resources:

Compensation For A Crushed Hand

Claiming For Wrongful Death

Compensation For Cut Finger At Work

External resources:

HSE Overview Of Sharps Injuries 

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

The British Liver Trust

For more information on claiming for sharps and needlestick injuries that were caused by a breach of duty of care, please get in touch with our advisors today.

Written by Maduforo

Edited by Stocks

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