Can I Claim For an Accident at Work If I Am Self-employed? – View Online Self-employed Work Injury Guide

If you are self-employed and you were injured in an accident at work, you may think you would not be entitled to claim compensation because you work for yourself. Although your rights are not the same as those of an employee or other worker, there are cases when the self-employed are able to pursue an accident at work claim for compensation with the stipulation that their injuries were caused due to the negligence of somebody else.

To find out more about your rights and if you can claim for an accident at work if self-employed, please click on the links below:

Accident at Work Statistics

Workplace accidents that are reported to the Health and Safety Executive in the UK are as follows:

  • 137 Workers killed at work from the period 2016 to 2017
  • 609,000 non-fatal injuries to workers (estimated) as reported in the Labour Force Survey in 2016 of self-reported accidents in the workplace
  • 70,116 Employee non-fatal injuries reported under RIDDOR by employees in 2016/17
  • 5.5 million estimated lost working due to nonfatal accident at work injuries according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey in 2016/17

accident at work

accident at work

Your Rights After an Accident at Work if Self-employed

Your statutory rights following an accident at work if self-employed, as previously mentioned, are not the same as those of permanent employees and other staff who work with an employer and as such you may not automatically be entitled to claim for injuries sustained in an accident at work. However, if somebody else caused an accident and you suffered injuries that prevented you from working and which led to a loss of income with no sick pay, you could be eligible to file for compensation.

This would apply if you regularly provide services to a company or business and you signed a contract with an employer as either a contractor or as a freelancer. The reason that this could entitle you to claim compensation for injuries sustained in an accident at work if self-employed, is that the employer/business owner would be responsible for your health and safety which means the work environment must be safe for you to work in.

Providing services or work for an employer on a regular basis if self-employed would mean that you are protected in the workplace by  the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The reason being that although you do not have the same statutory rights as permanent employees, under the law you are protected when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.

If as a self-employed worker you are injured in an accident at work and the incident was caused through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to file for compensation against the person you regularly work for or provide services to. The best course of action should this be the case, is to contact a personal injury lawyer who specialises in cases that involve self-employed workers who suffer injuries in a workplace through the mistake or negligence of a third party.

What Should I Do If Injured in an Accident at Work if Self-employed?

If you were providing services or other work for an employer which could be building work, bricklaying, decorating or you work for them as a painter on a specific project and you suffer an injury while carrying out a job for the employer, there are specific steps that must be taken as soon as possible after the accident at work. These are as follows:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible even if you think that your injuries are only minor. Even slight injuries can turn much nastier a little later on when your adrenaline has calmed down. Having an official report of the injuries you sustained in an accident at work is invaluable should you wish to claim compensation from an employer
  • Make sure there is an official record of the accident that details where the incident occurred as well as the injuries you suffered. This could be in an Accident Report Book, in a personal email to an employer/business owner or in a letter sent to them by registered post remembering to keep a copy for your own records. Again, having an official report of the workplace accident in which you were injured would help establish liability when filing an accident at work claim to seek compensation if you are self-employed
  • Make sure you collect as many witness statements as you can remembering to note down their contact details too
  • Get photos of the injuries you suffered – ideally these images should be taken before you receive any medical treatment
  • Take photos of where the accident at work occurred and if available request CCTV footage of the incident which you are entitled to have if you are injured at work

Finally, discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer who would quickly establish liability for the injuries you sustained in an accident at work if self-employed, bearing in mind that as someone who is self-employed, you could be responsible for your safety when working. However, if you were hired by a business or company to carry our specific jobs or to work on a particular project, then the responsibility could fall to the person you are working for as a self-employed worker at the time.

The more evidence you can provide that an accident at work that left you injured occurred and you were not at fault, or the incident could have been avoided if the correct safety measures had been in place, the stronger your case as a self-employed worker would be against an employer and the more chance that your claim would be upheld whether it goes before a judge at a tribunal or your employer’s liability insurance provider chooses to settle your claim before it goes to court. This is referred to as an “out of court” settlement.

How Much Compensation Could I Receive After an accident at Work if Self-employed?

The level of compensation you may be awarded after an accident at work if self-employed would depend on several factors which are detailed below:

  • The extent of the injuries you suffered in the accident at work
  • The amount of time off work you had to take during your recovery
  • Your loss of earnings as a direct result of the injuries you sustained in a workplace accident
  • Your capacity to earn a wage in the future
  • Whether your injuries are such they negatively impact your ability to work
  • Whether your home required adaptation
  • Whether your car needed to be adaptation
  • Travel costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Care costs

General damages that you would receive are calculated using the Judicial College Guidelines, but special damages that are awarded in work-related personal injury claims are based on your actual expenses which you incurred as a direct result of having been injured in the workplace which is why you must provide receipts for all the costs you had to pay out.

In order to get a clearer idea of how much accident at work compensation you could receive if you are injured in an accident at work if self-employed, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who would give tell you as quickly as possible whether your claim against an employer is valid and the amount of compensation you may receive if your case is upheld by a judge or you receive an out of court settlement.

Examples of When Self-employed Workers Could Claim Compensation After an Accident at Work

Many industries and companies employ self-employed workers and contractors to carry out specific work on projects. An example being in the construction and building industry where carpenters, plumbers and electricians who work for them on a self-employed basis on a regular basis. If you work in such an environment, the chances are you were asked to sign a contract which set out the terms and conditions relating to the work you are to carry out for an employer which could last anything from several months to more than a year.

The employer you work for under this contract, has a duty of care towards you which is the same duty as they have towards all employees which is to ensure that a work environment is safe with the minimum risk of injury happening. An employer must set in place all “reasonable” measures to reduce the chance of you suffering an injury while carrying out your work. This includes the following:

  • Ensuring that the correct personal protective equipment is available
  • To ensure that adequate training is provided to all employees and other staff to ensure they are capable of carrying out the jobs they are tasked to do
  • That everyone is given the right training to use equipment, machinery and tools that are used in a work environment
  • That everyone is provided with the company’s working practices and procedures

Reasons why you could be entitled to claim compensation after an accident at work if self-employed include the following:

  • Not having been provided with the correct equipment/tools to carry out a job
  • Not having been given sufficient training to carry out a job safely
  • Not having been given the correct personal protective equipment to carry out a job safely
  • Having to work with faulty/defective machinery/equipment/tools

An employer must ensure that all equipment, tools and machinery that is used in a work environment is in good working order and correctly maintained to reduce the risk of an accident occurring.

The equipment must also suit the job that you are tasked to do by an employer and if it is not and you suffer an injury in an accident at work if self-employed but you regularly carry out work for them or you were contracted to work on a specific project, the employer could be held negligent in their duty to make sure your are safe whilst in their employment.

The reason being the employer would be in breach of health and safety regulations and the law that stipulates they must ensure you are kept safe from harm and that a work environment is safe for you to work in.

What is the Deadline to Filing an Accident at Work Claim if Self-employed?

There is a strict deadline to filing accident at work claims whether you are self-employed or not which is 3 years from the date of the incident that left you with some kind of workplace injury. However, the time limit begins at different times depending on the circumstances surrounding the workplace accident which is detailed below:

  • 3 years from the date that a doctor or other recognised medical professional diagnosed you as suffering from some kind of health issue that they directly link to an injury you sustained in a workplace accident
  • 3 years from your 18th birthday should the accident at work that left you injured have occurred when you were under the age of 18

Should you be injured at work and you are self-employed, you should discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer because gathering all the documentation and evidence to prove your case, can take time and effort. The other thing to bear in mind is that the sooner you contact a solicitor who specialises in this type of claim, the sooner you can get your claim underway and the quicker you could receive a settlement for the injuries you sustained in an accident at work if self-employed.

What Advantages Would a Personal Injury Solicitor Provide in an Accident at Work Claim?

Personal injury claims can be complex more especially when it comes to establishing liability if you were injured in the workplace as a self-employed worker. A lawyer who specialises in this type of claim has the legal expertise required when communicating with an employer’s liability insurance provider and fully appreciates that pre-action protocols must be respected. This alone can help speed up what is often a lengthy legal process more especially as insurance companies are known to drag their feet at times when responding to letters and other forms of communication they are sent.

The other thing to bear in mind is that when it comes to calculating your loss of income due to the injuries you sustained, this too can prove challenging as you would not have any previous payslips to prove your regular monthly income. A personal injury lawyer would assist you in gathering the necessary proof of earnings to validate any loss of income you incurred as a direct result of suffering an injury in an accident at work if self-employed.

Would A Solicitor Represent Me on a No Win No Fee Basis?

You would be offered an initial consultation by a personal injury lawyer which is typically free of charge and you would be under no obligation to continue with an accident at work claim if you decide not to go forward. With this said, once the lawyer has determined that you have a strong claim as a self-employed worker against an employer, you would be asked whether you would agree to sign a No Win No Fee agreement which allows the lawyer to begin investigations into your claim without the need of requesting that you pay them an upfront fee to do so.

Solicitors have extensive knowledge and access to legal libraries which they can reference when needed. Having signed a Conditional Fee Agreement – there would be no ongoing fees as your case progresses either. The only time you would be liable to pay any fees to a No Win No Fee lawyer is when you win your claim against an employer and the amount would be taken directly from the compensation you are awarded whether by a judge or in an out of court settlement. Should your case not succeed, the solicitor’s fees would be waived because of the No Win No Fee agreement you signed.

Informative Links

If you would like to know more about your rights as a self-employed worker who has been injured in an accident at work, please follow the link below where you will find essential reading on the topic:

More about worker’s rights if self-employed or a contractor

If you would like more information on No Win No Fee agreements, please click on the link below which takes you to the Citizen’s Advice website where you will find a lot of useful information on the topic:

More about No Win No Fee Agreements

To find out more about accident in the workplace statistics, please follow the link below which takes you to the Government Health and Safety Executive website where you will find more information on both work-related injuries and work-related health issues:

More about accident at work statistics