Needlestick Injury claims

A needlestick injury, sometimes referred to as a sharps injury, is a term used to describe an accident where a person's skin is punctured by a hypodermic needle or sharp medical device such as a scalpel.

Healthcare workers, cleaners, police and prison officers and those dealing with waste disposal are typically at a high risk of suffering a sharps injury, however exposure can also happen in public places such as rest rooms and parks. Most needlestick injuries occur when needles are improperly or carelessly disposed of, instead of being placed in sealed biohazard bins.

We understand that the impact of a needlestick injury is not limited to the initial bleeding, swelling and tenderness to the area of skin which is punctured. Our solicitors combine empathy with expertise to ensure the psychological distress which often accompanies a sharps injury is factored into the case for compensation.

We also signpost clients who are diagnosed with blood-borne viruses or infections post-injury to sources of further support, advice and treatment.

“I cannot recommend Thompsons highly enough – they really know what they are doing and were there for me whenever I needed them.”

Joe, our needlestick injury client

Frequently asked questions about needlestick injury claims


1. What is a needlestick injury?

A needlestick injury, otherwise known as a sharps injury or puncture wound, occurs when a needle accidentally puncturing the skin. Certain people are more at risk of sustaining a needlestick injury such as healthcare workers, members of the police force, those dealing with waste disposal, cleaners and even prison staff. However, exposure can happen in public places like parks or public toilets.

2. What should I do if I am injured by a needle or other sharp medical device?

If you have suffered a needlestick injury, you should:

  • Immediately wash the wound with running water and soap (without scrubbing)
  • Encourage the wound to bleed, ideally while holding it under running water
  • Dry it and cover it with a waterproof plaster
  • Seek urgent medical advice from your GP, NHS 111 or visit your nearest A&E department.

 A medical professional will advise whether you need treatment to minimise the risk of infection.

3.  What infections can you get from a needlestick injury?

If you have a sustained an injury caused by a needle, there is a chance it may have been contaminated with infections such as:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

 There is also a small risk of you developing other infections through contaminated blood, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

If your GP thinks you are at risk of infection, they may put you on a course of antibiotics. If there is a risk of hepatitis, you will be vaccinated.

4. I suffered a needlestick injury at work. Can Thompsons Solicitors help me make a needlestick injury claim?

Yes. Our accident at work specialists are on hand to help determine whether you could make a needlestick injury claim - all you need to do is either call 0800 0 224 224, request a callback or fill out our claim form.

We would only advise you to proceed with a claim if we believe there are reasonable prospects of it being successful.

5. Has Thompsons Solicitors supported other people in needlestick injury claims?

Yes, our accident at work lawyers have helped people working in a range of industries secure compensation after sustaining a needlestick injury claim, and they’re on hand to help you too. We are the UK’s most experienced personal injury law firm, using our 90 plus years’ experience to secure maximum compensation for people who have suffered accidents at work – from injuries caused by a slip, trip or fall, a burn injury, a needlestick injury or a crush injury.

Our specialists understand that sustaining a needlestick injury can cause psychological distress, which is why they always aim to make the claim process as smooth and stress-free as possible, and ensure the mental trauma is accounted for in the compensation secured.

Thompsons Solicitors has only ever acted on behalf of injured workers – we will never represent employers or insurers, and that is written in our firm’s pledge to you.

6. I sustained a needlestick injury months ago - can I still make a needlestick injury claim for compensation?

Yes. You need to begin a claim within three years of the date you sustained your injury. There are very few exceptions to this, so if in doubt, contact our needlestick injury specialists today for advice on making a compensation claim.

7. How much will it cost to start a needlestick injury claim?

Our experts recommend clients start a claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, which means that, should the claim be unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay a penny for legal fees. Visit our fees and payment page for more information.

If your needlestick injury claim is successful, there is a small success fee – no more than 25 per cent of the total compensation figure.

Trade union members get a free legal service with no legal deductions from compensation as part of their trade union package. Visit our union site to find out more about trade union membership and the legal benefits it provides.