Can I make a work injury claim if I am self-employed?

Self-employed workers often assume that they cannot claim compensation if injured at work as there would be nobody to claim against - other than themselves. This is not necessarily the case.

Employed and self-employed people may be considered the same when making an injury claim. As a self-employed person, you may actually be able to claim compensation.

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Employers' duty of care

All employers owe a legal 'duty of care' to their employees. If you (as an employee) are injured at work as a result of an employer's failure in their duty of care, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

The employer must:

Employed and self-employed workers are often considered in the same way

Many self-employed people work on premises owned or operated by another party e.g. self-employed electricians and plumbers working on a building site.

If you are self-employed and you were injured as a result of the negligence of the operator of the premises where you were working, you may have grounds for a work accident claim if, for example:

  • the company failed to make the working environment safe, and a preventable accident resulted from this breach
  • one of the company's employee's actions caused an accident
  • the firm has provided inadequate or faulty equipment which resulted in the injury
  • you spend most of your time working at the company where you sustained the injury or illness.
  • the company has control over your working practice or environment. In this case, the company's duty of care is similar to the duty owed to an employee. The same applies to contractors.

Industries like building and farming commonly rely on self-employed workers and contractors who often work on one project for long periods.

Although self-employed workers do not enjoy the same level of employment protection as their employed counterparts, they would still have the same health and safety rights.

Personal injury solicitors should offer a free initial consultation which will clarify your rights, before advising you if you have a claim for compensation.

What if I was on a temporary or zero-hours contract?

Agency and temp workers

A work injury compensation claim would usually be made against the company where you were working when injured, rather than the agency that technically employed you.

If the agency has more control and responsibility for a worker's role, such as by providing training or equipment, the agency may be liable.

Read more:

How do I make an agency worker compensation claim?.

Zero-hours contracts

Regardless of the type of contract you are employed on, your employer owes you the same duty of care.

If your working conditions are unsafe in any way and you are injured as a result, you can claim work accident compensation even if you are on a zero-hours contract.

Read more:

How do I make an injury claim if I am on a zero-hours contract?


Home workers, sometimes called 'out workers' or 'remote workers', may be eligible to claim against their employer if they are injured while working from home.

Whether you will be able to claim as a home worker will depend on the circumstances of your accident, and the degree to which your employer owed you a duty of care.

An employer will not usually be held responsible for a work accident that occurs as the result of circumstances beyond their control, such as a slip or trip caused by a family member's negligence.

By law, a health and safety risk assessment should be carried out to identify and manage risks to employer safety and the safety of others. The employer is still required to carry out a full risk assessment even if you work from home.

If your employer fails to carry out a risk assessment or fails in their obligation to provide a safe working environment, your employer may be held liable for your injury. If the injury arises from defective or inadequate equipment, your employer has supplied or approved, a claim may be possible.

What should I do if I am injured at work?

There are several things that can be done to help your solicitor build a stronger case for your work injury claim. The following steps should be taken as soon as possible after the work accident:

  • report the work accident
  • record the details of the accident in your employer's accident book
  • if need be, check that your employer has reported the accident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • gather details (name and address) and statements from witnesses
  • Always collect evidence - even if liability is admitted by the employer - take photos of the scene of the accident

Even if you have not decided to make an injury at work claim, you should still follow these steps.

Read more:

Claiming compensation following an injury at work

Do I have an injury claim?

A compensation claim should be possible if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

It may be that, for example, the accident happened more than 3 years ago, or that you were partly at fault. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 376 1001.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Check my claim

What can compensation be claimed for?

The amount of compensation available would depend on the severity of the injury and any long-lasting effects.

Compensation can also be claimed for loss of earnings, medical costs, and travel expenses. Claimants are advised to retain receipts and any other evidence or financial loss as these will support the claim.

Read more:

What can I claim for in a personal injury claim?

How much compensation can I claim?

Whether you are employed or self-employed, calculating how much compensation you can claim for a work injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your work injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor