Dealing with a personal injury claim as a self-employed worker
News article published on: 18th May 2020
Being self-employed has its advantages, including independence, creative freedom, job satisfaction and control over your own workload. However, self-employment also brings disadvantages, such as less job security and no employer-dependant benefits, such as Statutory Sick Pay and holiday leave.
One area of concern for the self-employed is the case of personal injury. What does the UK law have to say on the matter of health and safety for the self-employed, and what can you do to protect your income in the case of personal injury? Can you make a personal injury claim?
The first question I get asked when speaking with someone who is self-employer and suffered an accident is – am I able to make a claim even though I am self-employed? A lot of people wrongly believe that without an employer and being responsible for their own health and safety, they will also be responsible for accidents they have at work.
Although there are situations when in fact responsibility lies with the self-employed person, in the majority of my cases, the self-employed is often working as a sub-contractor and has no control over the work. They tend to be given tools and equipment to use by the contracting company and very often work under the control of a third party. In these situations the self-employed are treated in the same way as employees when it comes to the company or site management’s responsibility, and they have to make sure the self-employed are kept away from harm whilst carrying out their job.
Unlike employees, the self-employed are not eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay. However, if you suffer an injury or illness that affects your ability to work, depending on your circumstances, you could be entitled to apply for additional financial support from the government. Universal Credit is one option.
Being self-employed does of course mean that you are unlikely to be paid whilst off work, therefore approaching a solicitor to investigate a potential claim should be done sooner rather than later so that you make a request for interim payments (a proportion of the value of the claim to be paid before final settlement) if and when the defendant admits liability for the accident.
An important factor to consider is the need for accurate financial records, including accurate submissions to the HMRC. These financial records will help determine the income and help evaluate the loss of earnings whilst off work.
Many of my self employed clients were not aware of their right to claim compensation following a work accident, and did not realise that for serious injuries they could claim not only for the injuries and their immediate loss of earnings but also for any rehabilitation, the cost of care, retraining and all long term losses and expenses.
Blog post written by Maria Tiron, solicitor in the Personal Injury team.