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Self employment compensation claims

Are you self employed and you’ve suffered an accident at work that wasn’t your fault? Just because you aren’t a permanent employee, doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible to make a self employed compensation claim.

Can I claim compensation when self-employed?

Many self-employed people wrongly assume that because they don’t have as many rights and benefits under UK law as ‘workers’ or ‘employees’ – such as holiday pay or sick pay – that they’re unable to make a compensation claim if they’re injured at work.

However, if you provide your services on a regular basis for one specific employer and you’ve signed an agreement as a freelancer or contractor, then that employer has the same duty under UK health and safety regulations to provide a safe working environment for you, as a self employed person, as they do for regular employees.

The reason behind this is that some industries – for example, construction – regularly use self-employed workers, such as plumbers, electricians and carpenters, to carry out large amounts of work on their projects. It would be very unfair if a contractor was injured in an accident at work that wasn’t their fault, but they had no way of claiming compensation from the people whose negligence caused their injuries, simply because they were hired to work there on a self employed basis.

While your statutory rights are different as a self employed worker as opposed to permanent employees, if someone else’s negligence resulted in you being unable to work and not being eligible to claim sick pay, you shouldn’t have to miss out.

To find out more about making a self employed injury claim following a workplace injury, call 0800 234 6438 and speak to a trained legal advisor, or request a call back using the form on this page.

Health and safety duties of an employer

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and other associated regulations, all employers have a duty to do all they reasonably can to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, freelancers, contractors and other people who might be affected by their business.

Take the example of a construction site, this means an employer has to ensure that any equipment provided, such as machinery or scaffolding, is safe and in good working order, and that anyone needing to use it is given the correct training beforehand.

Employers are also required to make sure your working environment is as clean as possible, and that you’re given access to:

  • A first aid kit
  • Protective clothing
  • Drinking water
  • Hand washing facilities
  • Regular breaks throughout the day

Risk assessments need to be carried out for every element of the work done on a site, with the aim that all risks are considered, and reasonable steps taken to minimise them. Employers should also inform you of all the risks in your workplace and explain how you’re protected, as well as instructing and training you on how to deal with the risks.

What should I do if an employer breaches their duty of care?

If an employer breaches their duty of care and you’re injured as a result, you could make compensation claim. If you’re hired by a company to work with them on their site or at a location, they have a responsibility to provide you with a safe working environment.

They also have the responsibility to provide you with proper training before you start work, and full personal protective equipment as necessary. If they don’t and you suffer an injury as a result, the employer has breached their legal duty of care and you could be eligible to claim compensation.

If you’re unsure whether you have a claim to make, call 0800 234 6438 today and speak to a trained legal advisor, or request a call back using the form on this page. If they believe you have a claim to bring, they’ll pass your details onto personal injury solicitors.

Steps to take if you’re injured as a self-employed worker

If you were required to work in an environment for any length of time which was unsafe, or you weren’t given the right protective gear, equipment or training and you were injured as a result, then you’re entitled to claim compensation.

To make a successful claim, your personal injury solicitor will need to prove that your employer was negligent. This means they’ll need to be able to show that they owed you a duty of care (employers usually will), that they breached this duty, and you were injured as a result.

In a work situation, the person responsible for your injuries would be negligent if their actions had failed to meet the standard of what a reasonable employer or person could be judged to do in the same situation, e.g. the man on the Clapham omnibus.

How do I prove I’ve been injured at work?

To prove your employer was negligent, you will need to collect evidence:

Seek medical attention

To give yourself the best chance of your case being successful, you should make sure you seek medical assistance after your accident. Go and see your GP directly. They will create an entry on your medical records about what happened at work and how it affected you.

Log the accident at work

Report the incident to the correct people at work, so that the accident is properly logged. All employers with more than 10 employees must have an accident log book which you should be able to get access to through your supervisor, or the Human Resources department.

If you’re self employed and injured on your own premises, you should report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive.

Record everything that happened

It can also be a good idea to record everything you remember about the incident, take photographs of your injuries and the equipment that caused them, and note down the name and contact details of any witnesses.

Make a note of exactly when the incident happened and outline any injuries caused.

Contact a personal injury solicitor

Once you have this evidence, you should speak to a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll be able to let you know whether they think you could make a successful case. They’ll also refer you to a medical expert who will assess your injuries and the effect they’ve had on your life.

Once the expert’s report is prepared, your personal injury solicitor will negotiate with those responsible for your injuries to win you the out-of-court settlement you deserve. Or, if the matter does have to go to court, they’ll help you prepare the most robust case possible and be with you every step of the way as your case goes through the courts.

Find out more about claiming for an accident at work

How long do I have to make a compensation claim?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have to start your claim within three years of your accident or from when you first became aware of the seriousness of your injuries – whichever comes later. If you have not made a claim within 3 years, you may be prevented from making a claim.

If a child is injured, the claim time limit will be different. In general, you can make a claim for personal injury up to three years after the date of an accident or incident. However, if you or your child was under 18 at the time of an accident they have any time up to their 18th birthday to make a claim, and then three years after their 18th birthday.

If you think you may have been injured in an accident which was not your fault, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. It is important to get legal advice quickly so the other party do not deny liability and put off paying compensation until it is too late to make a claim.

How much compensation could I receive?

If you’re self employed and you’re injured at work, you still have the right to claim compensation. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and how long you’re expected to take to recover, but could include damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of earnings
  • Psychological damage
  • Additional medical treatment or rehabilitation
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel expenses to and from the hospital
  • Adaptations required to your home and vehicles

Because your compensation figure depends on so many different factors which are unique to your case, it’s difficult to say exactly how much money you might receive. But to get a guideline figure, you can try our online compensation calculator.

DID YOU KNOW: 581,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey in 2018/19

Why should I claim compensation if I’m injured at work?

If you’re a self employed worker and you’ve been injured at work and the accident wasn’t your fault, yet you’re now unable to work because of injuries sustained, you’ll know how much stress that can cause.

To compensate for stress

Not being able to work means a loss of income (and when you’re self employed you don’t get sick pay), and this can have a real impact on your financial situation, which can cause even more stress.

But making a stress free compensation claim through, can help put you back on your feet and get you back to work. Making a personal injury claim when you’re a self employed worker is one way to ensure that you’re not missing out, that you receive financial recompense when it’s needed most.

To improve the workplace environment for others

Plus, making a claim as a self employed person can help improve health and safety protocols in the workplace making the work environment better for everyone.

Your compensation claim can force change. If the accident at work was a result of lack of training, faulty equipment, even unsafe working practices, a successful claim can make sure history isn’t repeated and no one else has to suffer in the future.

If you’re unsure about whether to make a personal injury claim, speak to our legal experts today and find out more about the process and how you could claim compensation for a self employed accident at work.

Why use a personal injury solicitor to pursue a self employed accident at work claim?

If you’ve been injured in an accident at work and want to pursue a claim for compensation, then you may well be wondering how best to do so. After all, the process is complex and it can be difficult to know where to begin.

There are many things that need to be done when pursuing a personal injury claim, but one thing that’s essential is having the right legal advice and support. That’s where a personal injury solicitor comes in.

Their legal expertise

The main reason to use a personal injury solicitor for personal injury claims is for their legal expertise. An experienced solicitor knows what information is needed and how this information should be presented in order to win your case.

To help you gather evidence

It’s vital to gather evidence when pursuing an accident at work claim, in order to determine if the employer is at fault. This means gathering a range of paperwork and statements from witnesses who were present during the accident. It’s important that you include all of this evidence in your personal injury claim pack – which is essentially a dossier that documents how and why you were injured. You should also make sure that it’s presented professionally, so that your solicitor can use it effectively when negotiating with insurers or court officials.

If you choose to pursue an accident at work claim without the help of a solicitor, it will be up to you alone to gather all of the necessary evidence, prepare your case and present it in court. You may also end up spending more time on the claim than necessary if you don’t know what steps need taking next or how long each step will take.

To fight on your behalf in court

It can be incredibly stressful to pursue a claim on your own particularly if you don’t know the process. A personal injury solicitor is a professional who has the knowledge and experience needed to pursue compensation.

A skilled lawyer will be able to negotiate with the other side, especially if they’re negotiating a large sum of money. A good solicitor will also know how much money you’re entitled to receive in compensation and how best to get it for you. Plus if you have to go to court, a solicitor will act on your behalf all the way.

To get you the maximum compensation

A good lawyer doesn’t just settle with any amount for a work injury claim, they will always push for more because that’s what’s best for their client.

That’s because every penny counts when trying to recover from a workplace accident. Medical expenses (which can often run into tens of thousands of pounds), lost wages from missing work due to injury, damage caused to personal property etc, it all adds up. And a personal injury lawyer will ensure you get compensation paid.

It won’t cost you a penny

If your case is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay a penny. This is an important feature of the no win no fee system. It means that you can pursue an accident at work claim without having to worry about putting a huge amount of money up front.

This is especially useful for people who are out of work because of their injury (like self employed people). If you’re not working and you don’t have sick pay and you have to pay upfront for a solicitor’s services, you likely won’t be able to afford them and you wouldn’t be able to pursue a claim.

How much does a self employed accident claim cost?

If you’re self employed and injured and unable to work, you might think you can’t bring about a claim because it will be too costly. Think again. The good new is that when you make a claim through, your claim is made on a no win no fee basis meaning it won’t cost you a penny.

The no win no fee claims process means there is no financial risk to you at all. You don’t pay your solicitor’s legal fees until you win your case. And even then, the fees are deducted from your compensation payout.

You never have to pay anything out of your own pocket, and there are no hidden charges. You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain when you claim financial compensation. Call 0800 234 6438 today and seek compensation for your self employed accident injuries.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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