Self Employed Accident At Work Claims – Am I Eligible To Claim?
By Danielle Fletcher. Last Updated 7th June 2023. If you are self-employed, there are many things for which you have to take responsibility. You may make certain sacrifices in return for the independence that comes from being your own boss. One of these, sometimes, is proper health and safety procedures. So when could you be entitled to make a self-employed accident at work claim?
When working on your own, you have to take responsibility for your own safety and protection. However, when you are self-employed and working on someone else’s premises, it is another story.
If you have had an accident at work while self-employed that wasn’t your fault and you have been injured, then you could be entitled to make a self-employed accident at work claim.
This article is a guide that explains what your rights are in a case like this, and how you could work with our panel of solicitors to seek compensation for a self-employed accident at work.
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If you wish to reach our team for free legal advice about making a self-employed accident at work claim, or if you would like to ask one of the solicitors on our panel to take up your case, then you can get in touch with us today.
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Choose A Chapter
- What Is A Self-Employed Accident At Work?
- Can Someone Who Is Self-Employed Claim For An Accident At Work?
- Workplace Health And Safety Laws
- Slip, Trip And Fall Workplace Accidents
- Self-Employed Workplace Vehicle Accidents
- Accident At Work Compensation Calculator
- How Long Do I Have To Make A Workplace Accident Claim?
- What Evidence Do I Need To Prove A Self-Employed Accident At Work?
- Make A Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Related Guides
In this article, when we mention a self-employed accident at work, we mean cases where a person who is self-employed has been working in a place (either as a contracted worker or simply passing through, such as performing a delivery) and has suffered an accident there.
Because an employer has a right to keep their workplace safe for all those working or visiting there, a self-employed worker could have the right to seek compensation even though they are not employed there.
Self-employed workers, contractors and employees
In a workplace, there will be employees with different roles and different types of relationships with the employer. There may be employees of the business who work directly for the employer.
Then there will be contractors, who may well be self-employed but are temporarily working in a role or on a certain project for an employer.
Self-employed workers may have a different relationship with an employer (client) than those who work directly as employees. Some of those differences could include:
- The client may have a differing amount of control over how they work, i.e. their methods, their hours etc.
- The client and the self-employed worker may share differing obligations with each other than an employee and employer.
- A self-employed worker’s rights and responsibilities may be set out by the terms of the contract they have with their client. It may differ from the employees’ contracts.
Employment Rights For The Self-Employed
There are a number of differences between being a self-employed worker and an employee. Self-employed workers not being entitled to some of the rights that employees are entitled to. However, there are certain workers’ rights that they may be entitled to when they are in any workplace. These include the right to:
- Not be discriminated against on the grounds of age, gender reassignment, disability, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, being married or in a civil partnership or being pregnant.
- Have the obligations outlined in the contract signed with the employer upheld.
- Have the protection of their health and safety.
There are further details of the health and safety rights of self-employed workers in the next section below.
If you’re self employed and had an accident at work, you might be eligible for compensation. While you are in a workplace carrying out work-related duties, you are owed a duty of care.
The main piece of legislation designed to protect worker health and safety is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA). It sets the duty of care that employers owe to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.
You’re also owed a duty of care when you’re a visitor to a workplace where you’re not employed. For example, you could be a subcontractor attending another workplace to carry out your duties. In these cases, you’re still owed a duty of care by the party in control of the premises.
When this duty is breached, and you are injured at work as a result, you could be eligible to make a claim. For example, if you’re a self-employed subcontractor who had an accident at work, such as slipping on a broken tile, and this caused you to be injured, you could be eligible to claim.
However, you would not be eligible to claim if you suffer an injury that was not caused by someone breaching the duty of care they owe you. For example, if you work from home and trip over a wire, you wouldn’t be able to claim.
Please get in touch with our advisors to discuss the circumstances of your work related injury. They can assess whether you have valid grounds to make a claim for a workplace accident.
Workers have protection under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This law obligates employers to ensure that they have made their workplaces safe through enforcing the appropriate health and safety measures. They should also see that their employees have been given the appropriate training and protection from the risk of injuries.
Although these health and safety obligations centre on employees, the law includes other workers and visitors. For example, an employer could still be liable for an accident in which a self-employed worker is injured in an accident caused by unsafe conditions.
If you were working in another employer’s workplace when the accident took place, you could claim compensation.
However, in your own home environment, because self-employed workers are responsible for their own safety, you may not be entitled to make a compensation claim. Your claim may also be affected if your own negligence caused the accident.
The most common cause behind injuries in workplace accidents are slips, trips and falls. These accounted for 29% of employer-reported, non-fatal injuries in the workplace in 2019/20.
These can be caused by:
- Wet floors as a result of spillages or improper cleaning
- Tripping hazards caused by equipment left lying around or failure to keep the workplace tidy
- Faults in the flooring such as ripped carpets or uneven paving.
If an employer has failed to keep their workplace well maintained and a self-employed worker carrying out a job there has suffered an accident in a slip, trip or fall as a result, they could be entitled to make a claim for workplace injury compensation. You can learn more about slip, trip and fall injury compensation claims on this page here.
There are several different circumstances in which a vehicle accident could cause an injury to a self-employed worker. In many workplaces, there are vehicles that are used, such as forklifts for moving goods or carts. These have to be operated safely and by qualified drivers or else there is the risk of an accident. If you get injured in a workplace you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation if someone else’s negligence caused an accident involving a vehicle.
You could also be entitled to make a claim if you suffer an injury from being provided with a faulty vehicle. If an employer hasn’t made a reasonable effort to ensure a vehicle is safe for use, they could be putting you at risk of injury.
In any personal injury claim case, there has to be an evaluation made of the potential compensation. You may look at how bad the effects of the injury are or health problems stemming from the accident.
During an independent medical examination, a medical professional may consider:
- The severity of your injuries.
- How long recovery has taken or will take.
- How badly you will be affected in the long run.
- What mental toll it has taken on you.
The more severe your health situation is, the more money you could be entitled to for your injuries. This amount is specifically tailored to reflect what you have suffered. Therefore, it’s difficult to accurately convey what you could claim without knowing the above factors.
However, the below table shows roughly what amounts could be awarded for different types of injuries. These numbers are based on figures calculated by the Judicial College.
|Severe tinnitus/NIHL||£29,710 to £45,540
|Severe Finger Fractures||Up to £36,740|
|Moderate ankle injury (e.g. dislocation or fracture)||£13,740 to £26,590
|Mild tinnitus/NIHL||£12,590 to £14,900|
|Occasional tinnitus/NIHL||£7,360 to £12,590|
|Toxic fume inhalation||£5,320 to £12,590|
|Fractured Clavicle||£5,150 to £12,240|
|Severe dislocation of thumb||£6,340 to £7,780|
What this table doesn’t include are special damages. These are the damages (compensation) that could be awarded for the financial losses you have experienced. This could include lost income from time taken off work. If you can prove your financial loss by producing things like wage slips, invoices and receipts, you could claim the amounts back in compensation.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Workplace Accident Claim?
There is a time limit, usually, to how long after the accident you can begin a claim. This time limit, in most cases, is three years. This may start from the date of the injuries. Or, it may start from the date you obtained knowledge that negligence at least contributed to the injury or illness.
In certain cases, there could be exceptions. For example, you may have been under the age of eighteen when the accident occurred. In this case, a close relative could be entitled to make a claim on your behalf until you turn eighteen. Once you reach eighteen you would be permitted to make a claim on your own behalf within the three year time period between your 18th and 21st birthdays.
Another case in which you could be entitled to a longer claim time limit would be if you lacked the mental capacity to make a claim. However, the 3-year time limit would begin if you recovered mental capacity.
Call our advisors for further information on time limits.
As discussed, there are general responsibilities that employers will owe to all employees regardless of their employment status, such as providing a practically safe working environment. Whether you are considered a full-time employee or self-employed, an accident at work leading to an injury due to negligence could be grounds for a claim. If you have suffered an injury at work in such a way, you could collect supporting evidence to prove your claim in the form of:
- Pictures or recordings such as CCTV
- The contact details of witnesses to the hazard
- Medical records
- Correspondence between you and the faulting party
The evidence you need will be specific to your injury and your line of work. Please reach out to a member of our team for specific advice for your claim or for more information about accident at work claims.
Things To Be Aware Of After A Self-employed Accident At Work
In some cases where a business owner or an employer realises there could be potential liability and blame placed on them for the accident, they may attempt to cover up the signs of their negligence. They could clear up the scene of the accident, removing any broken equipment for example.
They may also make excuses for moving the fault that caused the accident before there is a chance to gather evidence about it. For example, they may carry out flooring repairs to cover up the signs that there was a tripping hazard. Or they might remove a piece of faulty machinery to hide the fact that inappropriate equipment was being used in their workplace.
You can head this off by taking photos and videos, if possible, of the state of the workplace in the aftermath of the accident and of the causes of the accident.
Most of all, a good thing that you can do if you have been affected by an accident at work while self-employed is to seek legal advice on making a personal injury claim. You can do that by getting in touch through the contact details provided on this page.
By working with our panel of solicitors you could make a No WIn No Fee claim, meaning you won’t have to pay solicitor fees upfront. You also won’t have to pay their fees if the claim isn’t successful.
In a No WIn No Fee claim, the solicitor’s payment is conditional on whether or not you win a compensation payout. That’s because the lawyers’ fees come from that payout. Exactly how much the lawyer takes depends on what you negotiate with them, but their portion cannot exceed the small, legally capped amount.
For more information on how these types of claims work, call our team.
- Read more about making workplace injury claims on this page.
- How Do You Claim If Injured At Work In The UK?
- Can You Sue Your Employer While Still Working For Them?
Thank you for reading our guide to making a self-employed accident at work claim.