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We may be able to help if you're self-employed and injured at work

If you're a self-employed worker or subcontractor, it's understandable to think you don't have the same legal rights as a permanent employee. But that's not necessarily true. And it doesn't automatically mean that you can't make a self-employed injury claim for an accident at work.

If you're self-employed and unable to work due to an injury, you'll know it can cause so much stress and uncertainty. Not being able to do your job means loss of income with no sick pay - and that can put real a strain on your finances. But, if you're self-employed and your injury wasn't your fault, you may be able to make a stress-free compensation claim.

How does the law protect self-employed workers? 

We appreciate that it's only natural to worry that - in the eyes of UK law - only you are responsible for your safety at work. After all, you're responsible for everything else in your working life. Why not safety too? But, actually, your wellbeing is not solely your concern.

Do you offer your services to one particular employer on a regular basis? Did you sign an agreement as a freelancer or contractor? If so, the company hiring you is responsible for making sure your working environment is a safe and secure one.

We also know that it can be difficult to know who to claim against if you're self-employed and suffer an injury. But the law is there to support you. And, thanks to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, you can be as protected as any other permanent member of staff.

In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling in favour of a self-employed plumber suggests that contractors' and freelancers' rights may now be shifting in the public arena. But all cases will still be handled based on their individual circumstances.

Can I claim if I'm self-employed and injured at work?

Contractors and self-employed workers are a familiar sight in many different sectors. From gym instructors and IT consultants to electricians and plumbers - there were 5 million self-employed people in the UK at the start of 2020

If a company hires you to work on their site or at their location for any length of time, you must have a safe working environment and get the proper training before starting. If not, and you then suffer an injury as a result, you might have a case for compensation as a self-employed worker or sub-contractor involved in an accident at work

This applies if you are given any equipment too - such as personal protective equipment (PPE), scaffolding or electric tools.

If you think the company that's paying for your services isn't adhering (or didn't adhere) to proper safety guidelines, it may help to talk to one of our Legal Support Advisors. You can do this free of charge. Call us now on or use our form to request a call back.

What should I do if I'm self-employed and injured at work?

No matter if you're a builder, bricklayer, painter or decorator - the most important thing you need to do after seeking medical treatment if you're a self-employed worker or sub-contractor involved in an accident at work is to log the incident via the official channels. 

Reporting an accident

If you're working on a client's business premises, you should tell the person you normally deal with there. Your client should, at least, have a HR department to contact about their log book.

Any company with more than 10 employees must have an accident book. You may wish to check that your accident was recorded. If there's no accident book, however, write down details of the incident and send it to the person you report to - keeping a copy for yourself too.

But if you're self-employed and injured on your own premises or at someone else's home, you must report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

In either case, be sure to collect the necessary evidence. Get the contact details for anyone who witnessed the incident, take photos of your injuries and what caused them if possible, and make notes about your accident to keep the details fresh in your memory.

You may also be able to use the medical report you'll get from your treatment as proof of the incident. You'll need to talk to a personal injury lawyer about who is at fault for your injuries - and having all this to hand can give you the best chance of success with a self-employed injury claim.

See what you're entitled to

If you signed an agreement or contract with the company who hired you, it can be a good idea to see if it includes any form of sick pay if you can't do your job. You might also have income protection that you can claim against if you're self-employed and unable to work due to injury.

Why should I claim for a personal injury if I'm self-employed?

After suffering an injury that leaves you unable to work, we know there's likely to be lots of emotions to deal with. When you're a freelancer or self-employed, it often means your income stops - and that can be really stressful, especially if you're the main breadwinner in your family. If someone else is at fault, it can be even more upsetting and frustrating.

Making a personal injury claim if you're self-employed and injured at work is one way that you can make it right, however, the amount that you could receive for your injuries can be a real help at a time when it's needed most. If you're off work due to injury for a long time, making a claim can ease the financial strain until you're able to go back.

A self-employed injury claim can also change the way things are done. If your accident is the result of poor training, faulty equipment or unsafe practices, a successful claim can help make sure the same mistakes don't get made again. If you're unsure and would like to talk to our legal experts to find out more, call   or request a call back now.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?

If you're self-employed and think that you have a case for compensation after an accident at work, it's vital that you speak to a personal injury specialist. This way, you can make sure you'll get the legal insight and experience you need to give your claim the strongest chance of success.

Our Legal Support Advisors are here to help as soon as you're ready to start the process.  They can assess whether they think your claim is worthy of further investigation and, if they believe you may have a claim, they'll pass you onto an expert personal injury lawyer who can help you further and provide free impartial advice.

How much will a self-employed injury claim cost?

Self-employed and unable to work due to injury? You might think you can't afford to make a personal injury claim - not least when there's no money coming in. But the good news is that you may be able to make your claim on a no win no fee basis. 

No win no fee arrangements take the risk out of making a claim, because you don't pay anything if you lose your case.

Your solicitor may need to take out special legal protection insurance for you, which pays the costs if your claim fails, and ensures claiming is risk free. The cost of this is only taken if you win your case. You'll never have to pay anything upfront and there are no hidden charges, so you'll never be out of pocket.

How does the claims process work?

After speaking to one of our Legal Support Advisers, we'll put you in touch with an expert lawyer if we believe you may have a self-employed personal injury claim. From there, your lawyer will take care of everything - using the benefit of their legal knowledge and experience to help.

It'll involve collecting evidence to prove that - as a self-employed worker or subcontractor - you were injured in an accident at work and someone else is at fault. It's where the details you gather after the incident can be useful. 

Most cases are settled without the need to go to court too. Either way, your lawyer will make sure you know what's what at all stages. If you have any questions or would like to start the claims process, call our expert team today on   or request a call back.

How long do I have to make a self-employed injury claim?

In most cases, you have three years from the date of your accident - or the date on which you first knew of your injury - to start a self-employed injury claim. If you decide not to make your claim straight away, leaving it too long can run the risk of you becoming “time-barred”. There are some exceptions - for example:

  • If you're making a claim for a child, there's no time limit up to their 18th birthday. After they turn 18 years old, they have three years as a legal adult until their 21st birthday to make the claim.
  • There's no upper time limit if you're claiming for someone who, for whatever reason, lacks the mental ability to make a self-employed injury claim. As stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity. If you're unsure, please don't hesitate to give us a call and we can help.

If you're coming to the end of the three-year limit and want to begin a claim, get in touch with us as soon as possible.

How much compensation could I get?

There's no set compensation amount that you may receive if you're self-employed and unable to work due to injury caused by an accident that wasn't your fault. It always depends on your unique circumstances. So, it's not possible to say for sure until you speak to us and then your specialist solicitor about your case.

Like any personal injury claim, the amount of compensation is made up of two elements. First are the general damages, which reflect your pain and suffering. The Judicial College Guidelines set out how much you could receive depending on where you were injured - and how severely. 

The second element are special damages. These are unique to you and a number of factors will be taken into consideration during the claims process. This can include:

  • Time off work and lost earnings
  • Future loss of income
  • Changes to your ability to work
  • Changes required to your home or car
  • Travel and accommodation costs

Can National Accident Helpline help?

If you're self-employed or a subcontractor injured in an accident at work, we may be able to help make things right for you. Our Legal Support Advisors are here to see if you can make a claim over the phone, so call us today to receive free and impartial advice about your case.

We can then pass you on to an expert personal injury lawyer, who will be able to advise further about making a claim on a no win no fee basis. To start the conversation with us, you can call us on or request a call back at a time that suits you using the form below.