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...

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Employers' duty of care

All employers owe a 'duty of care' to their employees. An employer can be held liable if you are injured in the course of your work - even if your accident occurs off-premises.

The employer must:

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

Many self-employed workers work on premises owned or operated by another party. Examples include self-employed electricians or plumbers working on a building site.

If you are self-employed and have been 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.

You may be able to make a compensation claim as a self-employed worker 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, in actuality, work on one project for long periods.

Although these 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.

An experienced personal injury solicitor will clarify your rights before advising whether there is a case 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 about agency worker compensation claims.

Zero-hours contracts

Regardless of the type of contract you are on, your employer still owes you a 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 about injury claims on a zero-hours contract.


Home workers, sometimes called “out 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.

However, an employer is expected to conduct safety assessments as appropriate, and they may be responsible for a claim that arises from defective or inadequate equipment the employer has supplied or approved.

Always collect evidence - even if liability is admitted

An accident at work should be recorded in an accident book as soon as possible and the names and addresses of any witnesses should be collected.

If possible, photographs should be taken of the area where the accident occurred. This will act as supporting evidence in court.

Sometimes companies admit liability for the accident immediately and subsequently change their minds. It is therefore imperative that the victim of the accident still collects as much evidence as possible after the accident.

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.

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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?

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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