Needlestick injuries, also called sharps injuries, are a common workplace injury within the healthcare industry. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 needlestick injuries occur each year in the United States.
Needlestick injuries are such a pervasive healthcare occupational hazard that various laws are in place to help increase employee safety. For example, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act imposes various safety regulations on Illinois hospitals and certain other employers. If an employer that is subject to the needlestick laws fails to comply with the laws’ requirements, it could be subject to fines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Moreover, if an employee suffers a work-related needlestick injury, he or she will generally be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from the employer’s insurance company.
If you suffer a needlestick injury, it is important to first obtain the necessary medical treatment. After you have washed the puncture site with soap and water and obtained the appropriate medical treatment, you should immediately report the accident to your employer.
If the needlestick accident occurred in a hospital setting, you will need to find out the infection status of the patient whose blood you were exposed to and immediately get tested for various infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Thereafter, you should consult with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim.
At Ankin Law Office, LLC, we understand the severity of needlestick injuries. Because needlestick injuries are workplace injuries, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which may include medical expenses, weekly lost wage benefits, lump sum settlements, lost wage differential, and, if necessary, permanent total disability. Our Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys will work to get you a full and fair workers’ compensation settlement, as well as recover any other compensation to which you may be entitled.