In our case in the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland it has been ruled a needlestick injury was not trivial and unworthy of damages.

It would have been right to say that the transient pain of a brief prick from a sterile needle, with no further treatment, would have been a trivial injury which gave rise to no claim.

But here there were features such as:

  • injury from a non sterile needle from a bag of waste which consequently carried a high and serious risk of injury 
  • a short period of bleeding
  • further invasive injections to ward against or test for further injury 
  • an impact on the sex life of the claimant and his wife
  • and further counselling.


All of this pointed to harm caused by the injury and thus this was an injury that was compensatable.

That was even before considering the claimant’s right to compensation for psychiatric injury which arose from the needlestick injury.

Fryers -v- Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, CA, Northern Ireland