Suffering an injury in an accident at work when working on a zero-hours contract could entitle you to seek compensation by filing an accident at work claim against the employer you were working for at the time the incident occurred. However, for your claim to be valid and to be compensated for your losses and damages, you would have to show the incident was caused either through employer negligence or the negligence of a fellow employee.
To find out if you can claim compensation for an accident at work if you are on a zero-hours contract and what evidence would be needed in support of your case, please read on.
- What is a Zero-hours Contract?
- How Is My Employment Status Established if I Work for an Employer on a Zero-hours Contract?
- Can I Claim Compensation if I Get Injured in a Workplace Accident And I am on a Zero-hours Contract?
- Could An Employer Terminate My Zero-hours Contract if I File an Accident at Work Claim?
- What Procedure Should I Follow After a Workplace Accident If I Work on a Zero-hours Contract?
- Am I Protected in the Workplace if I am on a Zero-hours Contract and Do I Have Rights?
- Does The Employer Pay the Compensation I am Awarded in an Accident at Work Claim?
- Can I Claim Compensation if There is No Report of the Workplace Accident That Left Me Injured?
- Is It a Requirement for an Employer to Have an Accident Book in the Workplace?
- What Workplace Accident Details Have to be Recorded?
- Is There a Time Limit to Filing an Accident at Work Claim if I Work On a Zero-hours Contract for an Employer?
- Can I Include Damages and Losses in My Accident at Work Claim If I am on a Zero-hours Contract?
- What Benefits Would a Solicitor Offer on an Accident at Work Claim?
- Informative Links
Zero-hours contracts are sometimes referred to as “casual contracts”. It is when you provide casual labour for employers after entering into an agreement with them that stipulates the employer is under no obligation to guarantee work for you on a regular basis. You, in turn, are not obliged to undertake any work which an employer offers you.
The self-employed can accept work from an employer based on a zero-hours contract but should this be the case for you, your status would not change but would remain as a self-employed person. If you are not “self-employed” and you work on a zero-hours contract for an employer, you would be classed as an “employee” of an organisation, business or company although you may be classed as being a “worker” in some situations.
This would depend on how much control an employer has over you and the work that you do for them when you are on a zero-hours contract. The terms of your employment would be laid out in the contract you entered into with an employer and the same would apply for employment agencies. With this said, you have “worker’s rights” which would apply. In short, the employer would have a duty to make sure they have taken all “reasonable care” when it comes to ensuring that a work environment is safe. This is covered by the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and 1984.
Even if you are working for an employer under a zero-hours contract whether “employee rights” have been determined or not, if you suffer an injury in a workplace accident, it could entitle you file for compensation from the employer because the following would apply under the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy:
- All workers on zero-hours contracts have “statutory employment rights”
This government legislation clearly sets out that there are no “exceptions” and that all workers engaged by employers on zero-hours contracts who are categorised as “workers” are entitled to be paid the “National Minimum Wage”. They must also receive annual leave, adequate rest periods and be protected from any sort of discrimination at work.
Should your employment “status” change and you are then categorised an as employee rather than a worker, you would be entitled to more employment rights would include the following:
It is worth noting that should this be the case an employer may request that you work a specific number of hours for them which would be written into an employment contract that you enter into.
Can I Claim Compensation if I Get Injured in a Workplace Accident And I am on a Zero-hours Contract?
If you work for an employer on a zero-hours contract and you are injured in an accident at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation from them providing you can show they were negligent in their “duty” to make sure you were kept safe when in the workplace. In short, no matter what sort of contract of employment you work under for an employer, you could file an accident at work claim against them.
All employers are legally required to ensure the following:
- That a work environment is safe for you to work in and that it is kept clean and tidy
- That you were adequately trained to do a job
- That machinery, tools and other equipment that you use in the workplace is always kept in good working order and regularly serviced as per a manufacturer’s recommendations
- That you are made aware of all working practices and procedures
- That the correct industry standard personal protective equipment is always available so that you can carry out a job safely
Should an employer not abide by the H&S regulations and other laws that protect you in the workplace and you are injured having agreed to work for them on a zero-hours, you would be entitled to seek compensation by filing a work-related personal injury claim against the employer. As such, you should discuss your case with a solicitor at AccidentClaims.co.uk who would offer essential advice on how best to proceed with a claim.
It does not matter what type of employment contract you have entered into whether zero-hours or not, the law clearly states that employers are duty bound to ensure that you are treated fairly and not discriminated against in the workplace. In short, if an employer chooses to fire you, suspend you or terminate your zero-hours contract because you seek compensation for a workplace injury you suffered through employer negligence, they would be in breach of the law.
If your injuries are such that you do not need to take time off work, an employer is legally bound to ensure that your job is safe even if you file for compensation. If the workplace injuries you sustained are such that you are obliged to be off work to recover, the employer cannot terminate your contract by firing you either and if they do, they would be acting unlawfully towards you.
With this said, if an employer makes your working life impossible and you therefore have no choice but to leave your place of work, you have every “right” to seek alternative employment even if your zero-hours contract is still in place which is covered by the “Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015’ which does not allow any terms or exclusivity clauses where zero-hours contracts are concerned.
If you are working for an employer on a zero-hours contract and you suffer injuries in a workplace accident, you should follow the procedure detailed below:
- Seek medical attention immediately. If there is a designated first aid officer in the workplace make sure they are aware of your injuries
- Make sure the workplace accident is reported to the person in charge or directly to the employer
- If the workplace has an Accident Book, make sure that a record of the incident has been recorded in it. Should there not be an Accident Book, you can either send the employer a registered letter or a personal email as soon as possible that provides details of the workplace accident making sure you always keep a copy of the letter for your own personal records
- Gather the names, contact details and statement of all the witnesses
- If the workplace has CCTV footage, request a copy which an employer must provide in a timely fashion
- Get photos of where the accident occurred and the injuries you sustained
- Make a record of all the circumstances that led to the workplace accident occurring
- Find out if the workplace accident and your injuries were reportable to the RIDDOR
- Seek advice from a legal expert
It is always best to gather as much evidence and other proof relating to a workplace accident as you can as soon as you are able to because even if you have not intention of filing an accident at work claim to begin with, you may change your mind later on.
As previously mentioned, you have rights even if you are working on a zero-hours contract. An employer must ensure that you are correctly trained to do a job which is covered by the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. An employer must also make sure that you are made aware of all the working procedures and practices. They must also ensure that the tools, machinery and equipment used in a workplace is in good working order at all times.
If you suffer an injury in the workplace because an employer failed to abide by the law, you would be entitled to seek compensation from them even if you are on a zero-hours contract and they cannot prevent you from doing so. Even if an employer chooses to ignore H&S regulations and other laws that are there to protect you and you suffer an injury in an accident at work, they cannot stop you from filing for compensation from them.
If you feel threatened by an employer in any way, you should contact a solicitor for advice at AccidentClaims.co.uk because an employer’s actions towards you would be deemed to be unlawful and as such you may be entitled to file other claims which could include the following:
- A constructive dismissal claim
- A detriment claim
- An unfair dismissal claim
A solicitor who specialises in employment law would offer essential legal advice on what sort of compensation you may be entitled to receive should an employer act unlawfully against you because you chose to seek compensation from them even if you are employed on a zero-hours contract.
When you win an accident at work claim against an employer, it is their liability insurance provider who pays the amount of compensation you are awarded. Employers in the UK are obliged to hold valid liability insurance because it is compulsory for them to do so. As such, it is the insurance company that handles your claim from start to finish which includes paying out the settlement you could be entitled to receive whether this is a court ruling or an out of court settlement that is reached.
Should the employer have ceased trading or they have gone out of business, you should still contact a legal expert because it would the insurance company who would handle any claims that are filed against the employer who has ceased trading.
Employers are duty bound to ensure that all workplace accidents as well as near-misses are correctly recorded whether this is in an Accident Book or by other official means which includes reporting incidents to the RIDDOR when necessary. However, if you find there is no record of the accident at work that left you injured, you could still file for compensation although a claim may be more challenging to prove.
With this said, you may have the following evidence which could support an accident at work claim against an employer you were working for on a zero-hours contract:
- A medical record of the injuries you suffered
- Witness statements together with all their contact details
- A personal record of the circumstances that led up to the workplace accident occurring
It is worth noting, that if an employer has failed to record the incident that left you injured, this could be deemed as being negligent on their behalf. An accident at work solicitor would assess whether you have enough evidence to support a claim against an employer who could be deemed negligent in their duty to ensure that you were safe in the workplace. They would do this by offering you a no obligation, free, initial consultation and once satisfied that your claim is valid, they would typically offer to work on your case by offering you No Win No Fee terms.
Accident Books are considered essential in the workplace because by law, employers must report and record specific accident at work injuries and other incidents. It means that a business, company or organisation complies with the legal requirements as stated in the social security and health and safety legislation. This includes the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations requirements.
Records of accidents at work and incidents that occur can either be kept in an Accident Book or by some other official means although the former is preferred because it allows for reports to meet Data Protection Act requirements.
The details of an accident at work or incident that must be recorded either in an Accident Book or by other official means should include the following:
- The time, the date and the place where the accident occurred
- All personal information of the people who were involved in the incident
- A brief account of how the incident occurred
- Details of any treatment and advice that was provided at the time of the incident
The details of workplace accidents must by law be retained for three years as this is the time limit that injured parties would have to seek compensation from negligent employers.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing an Accident at Work Claim if I Work On a Zero-hours Contract for an Employer?
You would have 3 years to make a claim against a negligent employer. However, this strict deadline begins at different times which are detailed below:
- You would have 3 years starting from the date you suffered injuries in a workplace accident
- The 3 year deadline would start from the date a specialist or doctor diagnoses you as suffering from some kind of health condition they link to the workplace injuries you sustained
- If you were under the age of 18 when you were injured at work, the 3 year deadline begins from the date of your 18th In short, you would have up until your 21st birthday to make an accident at work claim against an employer
You would be entitled to claim any losses and damages in your accident at work claim even if you are on a zero-hours contract. The way that accident at work compensation is awarded is in 2 separate parts which are as follows:
You would be awarded general damages which would compensate you for the injuries you suffered in a workplace accident. General damages are awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you endured. The way a court would work out how much you could receive would be based on the Judicial College Guidelines and the more severe an injury happens to be, the higher amount of accident at work compensation you would be awarded.
- Special damages
You would also be awarded special damages in an accident at work claim. These are awarded to compensate you for all your out of pocket expenses. As such, you would be entitled to include your travel and medical expenses but you must provide receipts to support these losses. You would also be entitled to include all other costs that you incurred as a direct result of having been injured in a workplace accident. This would include things like care costs, home and/or vehicle adaptations and any other expenses that can be directly linked to the workplace injury you sustained.
An accident at work solicitor would provide you with many benefits when claiming compensation from an employer you work for on a zero-hours contract. This would include but is not limited to the following:
- You would be offered a free, initial, no obligation consultation at which time the solicitor would determine whether you have a strong case against a negligent employer
- The solicitor would offer you No Win No Fee terms which means you would not have to pay them an upfront fee or any ongoing fees for them to represent you
- You would be informed as soon as possible of the amount of accident at work compensation you could be entitled to receive
- Accident at work solicitors can refer to legal libraries and can base your claim against an employer on past cases
- A solicitor has years of experience and the legal expertise required to negotiate with liability insurance providers
- A solicitor would arrange for your workplace injuries to be assessed by an independent medical professional. The report that is produced would be used to calculate the level of accident at work compensation you could receive
These are just some of the advantages of having a legal expert represent you when you are injured in an accident at work and you are on a zero-hours contract. Having a solicitor represent you on a No Win No Fee basis means that you can concentrate on your recovery rather than worry how you are going to pay monthly bills and other outgoings. The only time you would have to pay for the legal advice and representation you receive, is when you receive accident at work compensation and this amount, the “success fee” is taken out of the money you receive. Should you lose your accident at work claim, there would no fees to pay the lawyer who represented you.
If you would like more information on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act – SBEE, please follow the link that is provided below:
If you were on a zero-hours contract and you were injured in the workplace, you can find more information relating to the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 by clicking on the link provided below: