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Court Awards $4.6 Million To Family After Child Suffers Accidental Needle Stick Injury In Target Parking Lot

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An accidental needle stick injury occurs in a split second, but it can have long-term effects on your physical health and emotional wellbeing.  The danger of a needle stick injury is that it can expose you to bloodborne pathogens, possibly infecting you with diseases that are less contagious, but in some cases more severe, than the ones you can catch just from sitting next to an infected person or sharing a beverage with one.  HIV and hepatitis C are the scariest bloodborne diseases, because they are caused by viruses, which means that a course of even the most powerful antibiotics cannot cure them.  It can take months of testing and preventive treatment before you are sure that you are not infected, and that means months of worry and stress.  Most accidental needle stick injuries occur in the healthcare profession; nurses, medical assistants, and other healthcare workers whose jobs involve administering injections and performing blood tests receiving training on how to prevent accidental needle sticks, and they also wear gloves and other protective gear for this purpose; hospitals and doctors’ office also have protocols for post-exposure treatment in the event of an accident involving a needle.  Conversely, no one goes shopping at Target with the expectation that they will get stuck by a needle and end up in the emergency room being tested for HIV, but that is exactly what happened to a South Carolina child several years ago.  If you have suffered a needle stick injury or other preventable accidental injury at a place of business, contact a Columbia premises liability lawyer.

Target Offers to Pay for Emergency Room Visit, but Court Orders Millions in Damages

In May 2014, Denise Garrison went shopping at Target in Anderson with her daughter Kaileigh, who was eight years old at the time.  While they were walking in the parking lot, Kaileigh picked up a hypodermic needle from the pavement and asked her mother what it was.  Alarmed, Garrison tried to swat the needle out of Kaileigh’s hand, and before it fell, it pierced the skin of Kaileigh’s palm.  Garrison and Kaileigh went inside the store and notified Shelby Brinthall, a Target employee.  On Brinthall’s advice, they went to the emergency room; Target had promised to pay for the visit.

In the emergency room, doctors tested Kaileigh for HIV and hepatitis and gave her medications to prevent infection if the needle stick had exposed her to those pathogens.  The side effects of the drugs kept Kaileigh bedridden for weeks, and she had to get tested several more times in the subsequent months to make sure she was not infected.  On several occasions, Kaileigh’s father spent the night parked in or near the Target parking lot and observed that employees were not inspecting the parking lot for hazards such as needles.  Target first offered to pay $750 for the emergency room visit and then $12,000 for the initial course of treatment, but Garrison sued Target for premises liability.  In 2016, the court awarded Kaileigh and her parents $4.6 million in damages, which is one of the biggest damages awards in the history of Anderson County.

Let Us Help You Today

The premises liability lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you recover damages if you were injured by a dangerous item left in the parking lot of a place of business.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.

Sources:

wwltv.com/article/news/south-carolina-woman-awarded-46-million-in-target-lawsuit/289-316522168

apnews.com/article/11bf94b088ff4e70a1775687794095d0

insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2022/01/28/651357.htm

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