By Joanne Jeffries. Last Updated August 18th 2021. Welcome to our guide that explains how to claim for an accident at work when not an employee.
In this guide, we answer the question, ‘Do you have to be an employee to make a workplace injury claim in UK law?’
Employees have a right to be safe at work, even when their occupation is one that inherently entails certain hazards. An employer has a duty of care that means they are legally required to do everything reasonably at their disposal to make sure that their employees are protected from the danger of suffering injuries in accidents.
They also need to ensure that the workplace, in general, is free from environmental hazards. If you suffer an injury at work because these conditions were not met, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Many might mistakenly believe that these conditions do not apply to workers who are not strictly classed as ’employees’ in a workplace. This article seeks to set the record straight by explaining how your rights to make an injury at work claim could still apply if you were not an employee at the time when the injury occurred.
We can offer you free legal advice from our team of experts as well as the support of our panel of solicitors. If you wish to enquire about making a No Win No Fee claim or would like more information about your workplace safety rights, get in touch. With our team of advisors, you can call 0800 073 8801, fill out this form, or message us through our live chat to be connected to an advisor who could connect you with a personal injury solicitor.
Select A Section
- A Guide: Do You Have To Be An Employee To Make A Workplace Injury Claim?
- What Is A Workplace Injury Claim?
- Does An Employer Owe You A Duty Of Care When Not An Employee?
- What Are My Rights As An Agency Worker?
- Workplace Injury Rights When Self-Employed
- What Rights Does A Temporary Worker Have?
- What Rights Do Contractors Have In The Workplace?
- Understanding Your Rights In The Workplace
- Time Limits To Claim For A Workplace Injury
- Calculating Compensation For Workplace Injuries When Not An Employee – Updated August 2021
- Special Damages Awarded For Work Accidents
- No Win No Fee Workplace Accident Claims If Not An Employee
- Talk To A Work Accident Claim Expert
- Essential References
- Workplace Injury Statistics
- Do You Have To Be An Employee To Make A Workplace Injury Claim?: FAQs
This guide explains some of your rights as a worker in a workplace in which you are not directly employed. In particular, we look at your right to have your health and safety protected and to make a compensation claim if you are injured in a workplace accident that is not your fault.
If you are not technically an employee, you could still have a right to claim compensation if you are injured in an accident at work that someone else is responsible for by filing a personal injury claim against the liable party.
We’ll specifically look at the rights of:
- Agency workers
- Temporary workers
- Self-employed workers
The guide also contains details about the process of making employment accidents claims, focusing on things like:
- Funding your claim
- Reporting an accident
- Calculating compensation
- Time limits
- Special and general damages
For further information on making workplace injury claims, call our team. Our team of advisors is on-hand 24/7. They offer free legal advice without any obligation for you to proceed with the services of our personal injury lawyers.
You could make an injury at work claim with a specialist solicitor if the injury was not your fault. There are various scenarios in which an injury might not be your fault, including if it was:
- Caused directly by the actions of a third party
- A result of a third party failing to uphold a responsibility that they had to ensure the safety of the property or premises they control.
A compensation claim is a form of legal action that a victim of an accident could be entitled to make if they have suffered injuries that were someone else’s fault. You would make a request (or a solicitor would on your behalf—if you choose to use one) that the responsible party pay a sum of money that reflects the harm that their negligence caused.
One of the situations in which you are owed a duty of care is when you are at work. When you are in a workplace, the protection of your health and safety falls under the duty of care of the employer. If you are not an employee in a workplace and you suffer an injury while you are there, you could have the right to make an accident at work claim against them.
Many may have a misconception that those who aren’t classed as ’employees’ are not under an employer’s duty of care while in a workplace. Some may believe that they’re not entitled to make a compensation claim against that employer in the event that they suffer a workplace injury there that was not their fault. This isn’t necessarily the case.
The law covering workplace health and safety in Great Britain is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This law makes it so that the employer at a workplace protects the health and safety of all workers. Reasonably possible measures should be taken to ensure that the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace are reduced or eliminated.
The wording of this law refers specifically to the employer’s obligation to ensure the safety of their workplace, not specific to their employees. This means that a non-employee who is in the workplace is under their duty of care and could be entitled to make a claim if they suffer an injury as a result of the workplace being unsafe.
When you are employed as an agency worker, you are entitled to many of the same rights and protections as employees. These rights include:
- The right to the National Minimum Wage
- Protection against discrimination
- The right to a safe working environment
If you are injured in a workplace accident while employed as an agency worker, you could be entitled to make a workplace injury compensation claim against the employer in the same way that a full-time employee would be.
The rights of a self-employed worker are different to those of a worker who is employed by someone else. A self-employed worker can determine:
- How much they charge for a service
- Whether they can take holidays
- Their terms and conditions when working for a client
They also have responsibility for their own welfare, and it is up to them to ensure their own safe working practices.
However, if a self-employed worker has an accident while doing work on another business’ property because that workplace had not been made safe, they could have the right to make a compensation claim against that employer.
Even if you are only employed on a temporary basis, you still have certain working rights. Whether you are a casual worker or are on a fixed-term contract, you are entitled to the protection of your health and safety in the workplace. This means you could be entitled to make a claim if you are injured in a workplace accident. You could also be entitled to other rights, such as:
- The right to National Minimum Wage
- Protection from discrimination
- Protection from unlawful deductions in wages
- Limits on weekly working hours
- Paid holidays
- Protection from harassment or victimisation for whistleblowing
If you are working as a contractor, you may be:
- A worker or employee (if you’re working for a client through an agency)
You may work on your client’s premises. If so, you would be entitled to work in a safe environment on the same basis as those who are directly employed by the employer. If you’re injured as a result of unsafe conditions in the workplace, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim against the employer.
Under law, there are certain basic rights to which ’employees’ are entitled to. These include:
- The National Minimum Wage
- The right to not be subject to discrimination or harassment
- Holiday pay
- Statutory Sick Pay
Many rights depend on your exact status. Some apply only to workers who have been employed for a certain period of time under an employer. Others don’t fully apply to the self-employed.
However, the right to reasonable protection of safety applies to anyone in a workplace, regardless of their employment status. This means that, even though you don’t work for the employer, they still have an obligation to protect your health.
You could claim if you were injured because:
- You slipped, tripped or fell on a hazard that, reasonably, could have been removed or signposted.
- An employee struck you and the employer was aware of the risk they posed.
- Poor employer training caused an accident.
There are many ways you could be injured due to employer negligence. Give us a call on the number at the top of the page to find out more.
When making a compensation claim, there is a time limit within which you can start a claim. This time limit is generally:
- Three years from the date of the injury; or
- Three years from the date that you obtained knowledge that negligence at least contributed to the injury or illness.
If you are under eighteen, the three-year time limit begins on your eighteenth birthday. However, if you’d like to claim before then, a litigation friend can do so on your behalf. You could also use a litigation friend if you don’t have the mental capacity to claim.
Depending on the complexity of the case and whether or not the employer you wish to claim against decides to oppose it, a compensation claim case could take a long time. This is why we recommend starting a claim as soon as possible.
Accurately calculating compensation is done by closely examining and factoring in all of the different aspects of the effects of your injuries. The compensation is intended to be a value of the degree of harm that you’ve suffered.
General damages compensate you for your physical and mental suffering. The impact of an injury that may get factored into the calculation of general damages includes:
- What level of disability or health problems you’ve experienced, or are expected to suffer according to medical prognoses.
- Emotional trauma or psychological injuries caused.
- Whether you’ve experienced disfigurement.
To begin properly calculating your compensation, you may choose to speak to a lawyer. However, below we can show you what figures may be awarded for certain types of injuries according to the Judicial College Guidelines. The JCG is a regularly updated publication that solicitors may use to value injuries.
|Severe Leg Injuries||(iv) Moderate||£26,050 to £36,790||Complicated or multiple fractures or serious crushing injuries, normally to a single limb.|
|Less Serious Leg Injuries||(i) Less serious||£16,860 to £26,050||Fractures resulting in an incomplete recovery or severe soft tissue injuries.|
|Knee Injuries||Severe (i)||£65,440 to £90,290||Long-term treatment, sufficient pain and loss of function.|
|Knee Injuries||Moderate (i)||£13,920 to £24,580||Includes injuries such as torn cartilage, dislocation which results in mild immobility.|
|Ankle Injuries||Very severe (a)||£46,980 to £65,420||Unusual injuries such as a transmalleolar fracture that results in deformity.|
|Ankle Injuries||Modest injuries||Up to £12,900||Includes minor fractures, sprains or ligamentous injuries.|
|Hand Injuries||Total or effective loss of both hands||£132,040 to £189,110||Excessive injury to both hands resulting in loss of use.|
|Hand Injuries||Less serious hand injury||£5,260 to £12,460||Includes crush injuries, soft tissue damage and deep lacerations.|
|Neck injuries||Moderate (iii)||£7,410 to £12,900||Moderate soft tissue injury with protracted recovery or acceleration of previous injuries by less than 5 years|
The calculations explained in the section above only reflect one type of compensation that could make up just one part of the total amount you could be entitled to claim. In addition to compensation for your injuries, you could also be entitled to claim compensation for special damages.
Special damages are a form of compensation that you could claim to recover your financial losses and expenses brought on by the injury. Some of the things that could be claimed back in special damages compensation include:
Taking time off work to recover from an injury could cost you money. This could come in the form of receiving a lower wage or being unable to fulfill contracts, for example. You could also claim compensation if you miss out on bonuses such as those for attendance. Or, if you are forced to leave your job because of an injury or have to work in a different occupation, you could be entitled to claim compensation for the loss of income.
An injury could mean that you have to repeatedly travel back and forth to the hospital or your GP in order to attend appointments. You could be entitled to claim the costs back in special damages compensation.
Much of your medical expenses may be covered by the NHS. However, if you need to spend any money on receiving treatment or care for your injuries, you could be entitled to recover the costs. This could include:
- Private healthcare
- Prescription charges
- Rehabilitation costs
- Counselling costs
Remember that there has to be proof of expenses in order to make a successful compensation claim for them. So make sure that you keep evidence such as:
- Travel tickets
They can then be compiled and supplied as evidence once you start your claim.
If you would like more information on what could be claimed in damages and how to do it, you can call our team for free legal advice.
Do you wish to make a compensation claim for a workplace accident that occurred while you were not an ’employee’? You may want to use the services of a solicitor. If so, you may be giving consideration to how you will pay for the services of the lawyer representing your case.
One option could be for you to pay for the legal fees upfront when you enter into an agreement with a lawyer at the outset of your claim. However, this might not be ideal for a number of reasons. Chiefly, you might not have the money at hand in the first place. Secondly, you could end up worse off than when you started if the claim is unsuccessful.
If you want to avoid these problems, then the preferable option could well be to make your claim through a lawyer on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you will enter into an agreement with your lawyer at the beginning of your claim where your lawyer will only take payment for their work if the case wins. This would be without charging you upfront fees or charging you for an unsuccessful claim.
For further details of how such an agreement would be negotiated, call our team.
Talk To A Work Accident Claim Expert About Whether You Have To Be An Employee To Make A Workplace Injury Claim
To reach an expert who can give you free legal advice:
The Health and Safety Executive’s figures show that, in 2019/2020, there were 111 fatal workplace accidents in Great Britain. There were 65,427 employee injuries that were serious enough to be reported through RIDDOR in that same year. According to data from the Labour Force Survey, there were 693,000 employee-reported injuries. In 2018, 2,446 people were listed as having died due to illnesses caused by past asbestos exposure.
What qualifies as a workplace injury?
In personal injury claims, a workplace injury is one that you suffer in a workplace accident caused directly by unsafe conditions or procedures in the workplace.
Can I make a claim for personal injury at work?
You could be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation for an injury sustained at work if you can prove that the accident was caused by unsafe conditions in the workplace and was not fully the result of your own negligence.
Can I make a personal injury claim myself?
It is possible for you to make a personal injury claim in which you represent yourself and speak and act on your own behalf. If you work with a lawyer to make your claim, they have the legal training and experience to successfully guide you. Working with a solicitor also means that someone else takes on a burden of work that you would otherwise have to take on yourself.
Can I make a claim against my employer?
You could be entitled to make a compensation claim against an employer if they can be proven to have not upheld the obligations they have towards your health and safety.
Could I claim for an accident at work when not an employee because I’ve left my job?
If you were injured in a workplace accident that wasn’t your fault, and you’ve since left your job, you could still have a claim for compensation. You would need to ensure you are claiming within the relevant time limits. However, if you could prove your employer was at fault and you were injured as a result, you could still claim as an ex-employee.
Could I claim for a young person injured at work?
If you are considering making a claim for someone under 18, you may wish to know that you could do so in many cases as a litigation friend. You would be able to make decisions in the child’s best interests about their case, and any compensation could be held in trust for them.
Could I be fired for making a claim for an accident at work when not an employee?
If you’re worried about highlighting wrongdoing in the workplace, you should know that in many cases, legislation protects you from being treated differently because of it. You should know that normally, compensation for accidents at work is paid for via insurance and not directly out of a business.
What are the most common workplace accidents causing injuries?
The HSE regularly produces statistics relating to workplace injuries. Their 2019/20 statistics reveal the most common cause of work related injuries to be a slip, a trip or a fall on the same level. You can see further causes of workplace injury below.
Thank you for reading our guide answering the question ‘Do you have to be an employee to make a workplace injury claim?’ Hopefully, you now know whether you could claim for an accident at work when not an employee.