Ms Beverley Hill, a classroom support and Asdan tutor from Berkshire, sustained an injury when she was unknowingly passed a used needle, which pierced through her skin under her nail as she took hold of it. As part of her job at the school, Ms Hill had the responsibility of looking after the children’s medication. On the day of the accident Ms Hill had been passed a medication bag from her colleague who returned moments later and then handed over a needle and instructed Ms Hill to ‘deal with this’. Ms Hill was busy at the time and wasn’t watching what was placed into her hand, she was not told that it was a needle and so did not know to pay extra care and attention. As Ms Hill closed her hand, the needle went under her index finger nail which started to bleed.
After getting injured, Ms Hill rang NHS Direct and was advised to go to hospital. Once at the hospital, Ms Hill received Hepatitis B, and Tetanus vaccinations, a course of anti-HIV medication, and also had a number of blood tests carried out over many months. In order to reduce the risk of contracting HIV, Ms Hill had to take the anti-HIV medication for a number of months too which gave her unpleasant side effects including; constant headaches, diarrhoea and sickness. After suffering a long waiting and testing process over many months and having experienced the associated anxiety about what she may have contracted for a long period of time, thankfully she was later informed that she had not contracted any diseases.
The school refused to let the child who used the needle have a HIV test. If they were to have allowed the child to have a HIV test, it would have saved Ms Hill having to take the anti-HIV medication and could have also put a stop to her anxiety. Due to the accident, understandably Ms Hill developed a mixed depressive and anxiety illness, had flashbacks of the accident circumstances, a fear of small silver items and continuous stress regarding the possibility that she may have been exposed to a disease from the used needle.
Since the accident was through no fault of her own, Ms Hill was entitled to take out a claim for compensation against her employers. Although her colleague was sufficiently trained, he did not carry out the correct procedure for handling needles which resulted in the injury to Ms Hill’s finger. Thanks to the work carried out by Zaynab Awan of Express Solicitors and Michael Smith of Kenworthys Chambers, Ms Hill received £5019.50 in compensation.
If you have had a needle injury or an accident at work that was through no fault of your own, please feel free to get in touch in order to obtain free legal advice and help with your claim. The number to ring to speak to an Employer’s Liability solicitor is: 0800 158 5274.