Compensation – How much for a needlestick?

A jury has awarded a South Carolina woman more than $4.6 million after she was stuck by a hypodermic needle picked up in a Target parking lot.

Court documents say the Anderson woman was in the retailer’s parking lot in May 2014 when her daughter picked up a hypodermic needle. Garrison swatted it out of her hand and was stuck in her own palm.

Garrison was bedridden because of medication prescribed because of the potential risk of HIV.

The paper reports Garrison’s attorney had offered Target a deal of $12,000. The company offered $750 in response. A Target spokeswoman said the company is considering an appeal.

In the UK, matters are rather less generous. Though there are now many solicitors offering their services in regard to a needlestick or sharps injury claim, the average compensation is around £1-4k, though fees will increase the cost to the defendant.

Compensation will increase somewhat if infection arises, but then may only climb to £15-20k, less if infection is a pyogenic bacterial infection. There is no likelihood of an uplift for psychological damage as that is often a contentious diagnosis, and frequently overlooked by carers and solicitors alike.

However, that sits uncomfortably against the junior doctor who was awarded close to £1 million for a sharps injury that, so she claimed, needle phobic and unable to continue with her chosen career.

The bottom line must be:

  1. take care to avoid sharps injury, and
  2. if the worst happens, get a good solicitor




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