Needle Stick Injuries at Work

Is it possible to claim compensation for needle stick injuries at work for terrible side effects from prophylaxis?

It is possible to claim compensation and to receive financial recompense for pain suffered as a result of needle stick injuries at work, which can include compensation for adverse side effects from PEP treatment (prophylaxis) in addition to the pain and suffering caused by the puncture wound.

Even when prophylaxis is administered promptly after needle stick injuries at work, it is not always effective and only reduces the risk of contracting a disease. The fear of suffering a potentially fatal or incurable disease from a contaminated needle wound often leads to psychological problems developing such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks; even when prophylaxis is performed promptly. It is possible to receive compensation for psychological problems suffered after a needle stick accident, provided the condition can be supported by a psychological evaluation.

Compensation for a needle stick injury can also be claimed for any financial losses suffered as a result of the injury or any health complications which develop due to the accident. This can include recouping the cost of counselling services or visits to a psychiatrist, additional transport charges, medical treatment costs and lost income if you are prevented from working – be that after the accident or in later life if you contracted a disease.

It can take a number of months before medical tests produce conclusive results, and as a result the resolution of needle stick injury claims is often delayed until conclusive medical test results have been received. The contraction of a disease from the accident will increase the compensation amounts which can be recovered considerably, and it is important that these are factored into the damages claimed.

Even if your claim for compensation for a needle stick injury needs to be delayed, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. A needle stick injury at work it does not necessarily mean that needle stick injury claims for damages can be made, and your right to claim should therefore be confirmed by a personal injury solicitor.

A solicitor will need to establish if the accident involved third party negligence, a failure in a duty of care and if your employer could have realistically taken action to prevent the accident from occurring. If there was a risk of you coming into contact with hypodermic needles at work, you should have been provided with puncture resistance safety gloves.

All reasonable efforts should have been taken by your employer to ensure needles and sharps were disposed of safely, such as making sharps bins available and training the staff on the importance of discarding used needles safely. The failure of your employer to put the appropriate control measures in place to reduce the risk of accidental injury would constitute negligence and a failure in a duty of care. Providing your solicitor can obtain evidence of negligence, there is no reason to suggest that your case would not be successful.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.