Q I suffered a needlestick injury. Is there workers' compensation for that, or do I just have to stay home until my test results come back?
It depends. Every year, over 600,000 health care workers will experience needlestick injuries in the U.S. Even when these injuries do not cause infection, they are far from harmless; employees may have to undergo regular testing and extra protocols for years as a result of exposure.
Diseases and Viruses Transmitted Through Needlestick Accidents
New Jersey needlestick injuries are a serious problem in medical work environments. Contaminated needles are extremely likely to transmit infectious diseases and blood-borne viruses such as:
- HIV / AIDS. Many people who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus are unaware of their condition, so it is vital that all healthcare workers undergo a rapid HIV-1 antibody test after a sharps injury.
- Hepatitis B. Many of these cases are asymptomatic, meaning the patient and care provider may not be aware of the infection. Rates are highest among 25- to 44-year-old men.
- Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne pathogen in the U.S., and it is most widely spread through infected needle use.
If you were stuck with a contaminated needle, the first step is to immediately report the incident to your supervisor. After the wound has been cleaned and sterilized, you will need to undergo blood tests to determine whether or not you have been infected. If your job led to your NJ sharps injury, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This means your employer is required to pay for your follow-up testing, medical care, and missed time at work. Workers' compensation should cover your medical costs.
Needlestick Accidents Could Qualify You For Workers' Compensation
If the testing shows that you are not infected, but you were forced to stay home during the testing process, you may also benefit from temporary disability awards. If you were infected as a result of a needlestick injury, your employer could be liable for lifelong costs, such as permanent disability, medical monitoring, and dependency benefits for your family if your condition is incurable.
Call Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. today at (877) 360-0183 to find out how much you could receive in your FREE, one-on-one case evaluation.
If you are not ready to speak with an attorney just yet and wish to continue researching your options, considering downloading my free workers' compensation guide. What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide. It's full of useful information for those interested in filing a workers' compensation lawsuit in New Jersey.