Most self employed workers assume that workplace injury compensation claims do not apply to them. The reasoning is, if they work for themselves, how can somebody else be held responsible for their work related injuries? More importantly, who do they claim against?
When it comes to compensation claims, self employed workers are definitely in a completely different category from workers employed by a company. However, while self employed workers are responsible for their own safety in most cases, there are instances when they may be able to pursue a workplace injury compensation claim if their injuries were caused due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence.
Instances When Self Employed Workers May Be Able To Claim Compensation
In many industries it is common practice for companies to hire contractors and self employed workers to perform certain tasks while working on a specific project.
For example in the building/ construction industry, the construction company or main contractor may hire self employed carpenters, plumbers and electricians to complete the woodwork, plumbing and electric wiring of one particular project. These self employed workers are usually expected to sign a contract agreeing to work on the project, which could take anywhere from a few months to a year.
On their part, employers have a duty of care to all workers that they employ, whether they are on a permanent basis, freelancers or contract workers. This means the employer must take due care to ensure that the working environment is safe for everyone working on their project. This includes putting up proper scaffolding, providing protective equipment when necessary and also providing adequate training in the use of various equipment and safety guidelines.
While self employed workers may not be entitled to the same rights or perks as those who are employed by the company, they are entitled to the same rights with regards to health and safety. If you are self employed and spend most of your time working with one particular company, whether it is on one or multiple projects, you are in effect an employee of the company as you are doing a project for them and under their instructions. In this case, you have no control over the working conditions and may be entitled to claim compensation for injuries sustained while doing work for this company.
As a self employed individual, you have a right to expect that the company you are working with will ensure that the working environment is safe. Some of the reasons you may be able to claim compensation for include but are not limited to:
- Not being given the proper equipment to carry out the work.
- Insufficient or no training given prior to commencing the job.
- Not being given adequate protective gear such as safety goggles and ear plugs amongst others.
- The equipment you are given to work with is defective.
Self Employed And Injured At Work – What You Should Do
Always seek medical help after any workplace injury, no matter how minor the injury may seem at the time. For one thing, you may not realise how seriously you are injured. Some injuries that seem superficial externally may be causing other damage internally, which you are not aware of. Secondly, this medical report serves as proof of the accident. If you decide to go ahead and file a claim for compensation, this initial medical report will help substantiate your claim.
If you are injured in the workplace and are able to do so you or a colleague should collect whatever evidence you can of the accident scene. Get photographs of any equipment involved, the surrounding area and anything else that may help prove how the accident occurred. Also get photographs of your injuries.
All workplaces are legally required to have a log book, which is usually kept with the HR department or in the supervisor’s office. Log the incident in the book and get it signed by the person in charge.
Get the names and contact details of any other workers who witnessed the accident.
After your injuries are attended to, you should consult with a personal injury solicitor to explore your options for filing a claim for compensation. An experienced personal injury solicitor will evaluate the merits of the case and advise you as to whether or not you have a case for compensation.
Do I Need A Personal Injury Solicitor?
Winning any workplace injury claim on your own can be extremely difficult as most companies have highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyers representing them. Winning a workplace injury claim as a self employed individual makes things even more complex as you would not have an employment letter. Calculating loss of income can also be challenging as you may not have any salary receipts to prove how much you earn a month. Without the necessary legal knowledge and experience, it can be tough to put together a convincing claim.
With our extensive knowledge in this area and our experience with handling all types of compensation claims, our personal injury solicitors are better equipped to help you get the award that is due to you. In addition to getting the benefits of our knowledge and experience, you also benefit from the No Win No Fee clause, which states that our firm will help you file your claim without any upfront legal fees.
How a No Win No Fee Agreement Works
At the first consultation (it’s free), our personal injury solicitor who specialises in work accident claims will weigh the merits of your case and if they feel you have a strong case in your favour, they will agree to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This is an agreement that states that you do not have to pay our law firm any legal fees at any time during the proceedings. You are only liable to pay if you win the case. Both parties, you and our law firm, agree on this amount prior to you signing the No Win No Fee agreement. We are always happy to explain anything you want to know about solicitor fees.
If you are self employed and you are injured in a workplace accident that was due to no fault of yours, don’t write it off. Instead, get in touch with us today and explore your rights to file a compensation claim for your injuries.