Personal Injury Claims for the Self Employed

Not being able to go to work for a sustained period is difficult but it can be much more difficult if you’re self-employed. The first thing to understand as a self-employed worker is that you are not always to blame for personal injuries when at work. If you’re a contractor or working on a customers site then you don’t have as much control over your working environment as you do if you’re sat in front of a computer in your home office so there may still be a chance to make a personal injury claim.

As a self-employed person you don’t have the benefit of an employee who may get a period of sick pay or statutory sick pay when they’re off due to an accident. You may have dismissed an insurance policy against loss of earnings. I’ve heard people say “I don’t need insurance, I work for myself and don’t have any family to look after” but when crunch time comes they do regret it and they start considering if they can claim for the injury which has stopped them from working.

When you look at websites offering claims management for personal injury claims they all offer the same sorts of services and attempt to get back compensation for all sorts of things including loss of earnings. That is an easy thing to prove when you can provide wage slips showing that for the past year you’ve earned say £2000 per month then it’s easy to work out how much you’ve lost out on when you’ve been off work for 6 months.

But what if you are self employed and your income fluctuates from month to month or you can go weeks or months without any income and then have seasonal influx of work? I’ve seen insurance companies dismiss loss of earnings straight away in the case of self-employment. So how do you convince them that you have lost out during the period where you couldn’t work?

So, as with all personal injury claims, I always look for evidence. Evidence is more difficult as for self employed workers but providing your accounts are up to date and you’re organised properly then I would still expect to make a claim against loss of earnings. I would always look to have the following as evidence for your claim:

  • Your companies accounts for the past 3 years and also for the year the accident took place, even if they haven’t been filed yet (as long as they’re as up to date as possible).
  • Tax returns for the previous 3 years including the year the accident took place.
  • All invoices and receipts for the year leading up to the accident as a minimum.
  • Any emails that show promises of work, orders or confirmation of new jobs.
  • Copies of contracts that show work due to be completed during the period of the accident.
  • Any emails or letters showing contracts which were cancelled because you were unable to work.
  • Details of any customers or colleagues who can confirm that you would’ve been paid during the period following the accident and while you were unable to work.

The company who are dealing with your claim may offer to write to individuals on your behalf or they may ask you to. I always used to do it myself as it’s independent. I’d usually make contact with accountants, HMRC and also individuals who were involved in the business who could verify what you have lost out on.

As you can see you need more evidence than just a couple of pay slips and it does require that you’re accounts and tax returns are up to date but if everything is in order then you can make a successful claim for loss of earnings even though you are self-employed.

Even if you’re not the most organised person in the world and you haven’t filed tax returns or accounts then you may still be able to sort things out with regards compensation claims. I’ve dealt with clients in the past who weren’t up to date. They contacted HMRC, got their accounts up to date and paid a penalty for late filing but then I was able to contact the company that he was sub-contracting for and got them to admit liability for the accident. Then, because the self-employed worker had sorted his accounts I was able to make a successful claim for loss of earnings.

So in short, don’t be put off from making a claim for lost earnings if you’re self-employed. It is harder to achieve a successful outcome but I know from experience that, with evidence provided, you can get a claim through and get compensation to cover your lost earnings when you need them most.