LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2012) - A needlestick injury is when a person's skin is punctured by a hypodermic needle or other sharp medical device. The physical and mental effects of a needlestick injury can be very distressing and sometimes devastating.
If you have suffered a needlestick injury, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
We have all heard about HIV and AIDS. Regrettably, a growing number of people die of this deadly infection each year.
HIV (or Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is transmitted by sexual contact or coming into contact with an infected needle. There is no cure for HIV once it is contracted. AIDS (or Acquired Immuno deficiency Syndrome) is the name of the condition when the HIV sufferer has no immune system left. A person who has come into contact with an infected needle may contract HIV.
A further risk of an infected needle is hepatitis B or C which requires treatment in the form of immunisation.
This means that a person who has suffered a needlestick injury runs the risk of contracting a blood borne virus or BBV.
Who is at risk?
The most common cause of infection is occupational. Workers such as nurses and doctors are most at risk but those in contact with needles can extend to cleaners, park keepers, police officers, refuse collectors, prison officers/inmates. Whatever the circumstance, you may be entitled to claim.
Deliberate infection is rare but if this is the case, a person who has contracted a blood borne virus via a deliberate act may make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Award Scheme (CICA). This is a government body designed to pay compensation to innocent victims of crime who have suffered injury.
Legislation and how to prevent a needlestick injury
There are a number of legislative frameworks which may be relevant to a needlestick injury claim such as The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 and the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations. These are particularly relevant where you have come into contact with a needle during the course of your employment.
Statutory legislation imposes a legal duty on employers to protect employees and other workers who may be affected. Employers must ensure staff are properly trained and as far as practicable, ensure others are not put at risk.
Employers must carry out a risk assessment and must have arrangements in place for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of all preventative and protective measures. This once again will involve training and information.
Medical sharps should be placed in designated sharps bins and protective equipment in the form of gloves, boots, pickers or tongs should be provided as necessary. Other measures include the use of safer needles, implementing safe collection, storage and waste disposal and ensuring workers are properly trained and informed of the risk.
Making a claim
If you have suffered a needlestick injury, hopefully you will not have contracted any virus or infection but you may still require treatment. The physical injury is often minor compared to the emotional stress and worry.
Blood tests are taken at the time but it can often take between three and twelve months to get the results and this wait can be agonising.
This is where we can assist because the pain and suffering and the psychological affects following such an injury can be compensated, even if you do not contract any blood borne virus and you are given the all clear. Compensation for the pain and suffering as well as any lost income, treatment costs, care and other financial losses are recoverable.
First Personal Injury have a wealth of experience in dealing with such claims and have successfully recovered damages on behalf of a number of Claimants who have suffered a needlestick or other sharps injury.
We would be happy to advise you whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. We will also talk you through the process of bringing such a claim on a 'no win, no fee' basis.
Notes to editors
About First Personal Injury
First Personal Injury is a leading firm of specialist personal injury solicitors based in the North West and acting on behalf of Claimants nationwide.
First Personal Injury has a wealth of experience in dealing with personal injury matters such as medical negligence and accident at work claims and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. First Personal Injury is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel and is also a panel member of Headway, the brain injury charity. First Personal Injury is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
For further information and to find out if you can make a claim, please contact First Personal Injury free and confidentially on 0800 014 1629.