Can I claim compensation for needle stick injuries at work after contracting hepatitis B from a discarded hypodermic needle? I have been also diagnosed with PTSD. Can this also be included in a needle stick injury claim?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

Can I claim compensation for needle stick injuries at work after after contracting hepatitis B from a discarded hypodermic needle? I have been also diagnosed with PTSD. Can this also be included in a needle stick injury claim?

Answer:

Failure to dispose of needles and sharps correctly and to place them in standard rubbish bins is a serious breach of health and safety regulations, and it may be possible for you to claim compensation for needle stick injuries at work against your employer’s liability insurance policy. Due to the high risk of injury from sharps and needles it is essential that they are disposed of correctly in designated sharps bins to ensure that biological material is destroyed and needle stick injuries can be prevented.

What is not clear from your question is how you came to suffer a needle stick injury. There are many possible scenarios under which a claim for compensation for needle stick injuries at work will be possible. However, the main criteria for making a claim for needle stick injuries at work are that your employer, or another third party, has been negligent and has failed in a duty of care to protect you from coming to harm. If needles and sharps are used in your place of work and dedicated sharps bins are not provided to allow safe disposal, or if they were provided and were not used, you will have a good chance of making a successful needle stick injury compensation claim. Even if your injury was the result of carelessness of another member of staff at your place of work, it should still be possible to claim compensation for needle stick injuries against your employer’s liability insurance policy.

In order to confirm your eligibility to claim you should you should speak with a solicitor for advice. After discussing the circumstances of the accident with a solicitor you will be advised about whether you are eligible to make a claim against your employer. A claim for compensation for needle stick injuries at work can include damages for the physical injury caused by the needle stick, any diseases contracted from the injury and psychological disorders caused by the stress of sustaining such an injury. Your chosen solicitor will ensure that all aspects of your injuries are included in your claim and will arrange for these to be supported with the necessary medical reports.

Injuries such as psychological trauma may need to be separately assessed by specialists and your solicitor will ensure that the correct medical professionals are consulted to help support your needle stick injury compensation claim.