Estimates report that there is a needle stick injury every 30 seconds and that 600,000, or more, injuries occur each year. In recent years, the number of needle stick injury lawsuits filed in a court of law have been directly related to the fear of acquiring deadly diseases. Reports also indicate that 89% of those who contract HIV/AIDs in health care settings contracted this deadly disease due to a needle stick. As a result, personal injury cases resulting from needle stick injury lawsuits happen rather frequently.
There are a number of reasons outside of personal negligence that result in needle stick injuries. For example, needle manufacturers may face lawsuits that their products are responsible for injuries. Following are some common aspects of needle stick injury lawsuits:
Employer liability: The employer is required to follow the regulations and guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. The organization’s blood-borne pathogens standard requires that medical offices, which include hospitals and doctor’s offices, have an exposure plan in place to protect the interests of employees. Furthermore, technology has provided for the advancement in needle technologies, which has produced a safer needle. While safer needles cost more than their unsafe counterparts, the cost associated with safety needles compared to the treatment of needle stick injury lawsuits costs substantially less.
Compensation: The resultant injury, such as life-threatening illnesses, including HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis, can have a negative impact on the lifestyle of the injured. Needle stick injuries cause emotional distress, medical bills, lost wages and may require mental health counseling. Needle stick injury lawsuits can also result in a request for punitive damages. The plaintiff’s attorney will need to provide sound advice in the collection of evidence and medical records to convince the court the plaintiff is entitled to damages.
As with any personal injury case, the plaintiff will have to prove the defendant had a duty to protect her and that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the injury.