I receive a lot of queries from self employed workers as to whether they can claim for personal injury against companies they are working for under self-employed contracts, due to the company’s negligence. If you are self employed and have an accident you should not assume you are unable to bring a claim.
It can be even more worrying if you have an accident at work and are self-employed as you may not be able to continue to work due to your injury and you may not have the benefit of sick pay which you may do if you are employed.
Someone is probably self-employed if most of the following are true:
- They’re in business for themselves, are responsible for the success or failure of their business and can make a loss or a profit
- They can decide what work they do and when, where or how to do it
- They can hire someone else to do the work
- They’re responsible for fixing any unsatisfactory work in their own time
- Their employer agrees a fixed price for their work – it doesn’t depend on how long the job takes to finish
- They use their own money to buy business assets, cover running costs and/or provide tools and equipment for their work
- They can work for more than one client
The fact that you do not have a direct employer does not mean you are automatically responsible for your own health and safety or responsible for the accident which caused the personal injury.
If you injury is caused whilst you are working for another company then your safety is their responsibility and you can make a claim for compensation against them if it is established that the injury was caused by the company’s negligence or the negligence of one of the company’s employees. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that the working environment is safe for everyone working on their project whether they are employed on a permanent basis, freelances or contract workers. For instance on a building site, this includes putting up proper scaffolding, providing protective equipment when necessary, assessing the risks involved and also provide adequate training the use of various equipment and safety guidelines.
For example, if you are working on a building site as a sub-contractor you will usually be working on their premises and may also be using the company’s equipment. If the workplace is unsafe or the equipment you are using is defective then it will be the hiring company’s responsibility if you as a self-employed worker suffer an injury.
If you are injury as a result of what you believe to be the company’s negligence or their employes negligence you should, if possible obtain as much information about the incident at the time together with witness evidence, go to hospital or your GP in relation to your injury so this is documented then contact a solicitor for advice as to whether you can bring a claim again the company.