Can I claim for a work related condition if I am self-employed?
Here at Roberts Jackson Solicitors one of the most common questions that our expert advisor’s receive is “Can I Claim if I am self-employed?” The answer seems simple to most – “No, who are you going to claim off?” but everything is not what it seems and there are other options available.
It is true that you are not able to make a claim if you are attempting to claim for a condition that has been purely as a result of self-employment. However conditions can arise before, after or during self-employment that may have been caused during employment.
A good example of the differentiation is hearing loss claims. When making a claim for hearing loss all periods of noise exposure are taken into consideration, meaning that both your employment and self-employment status are assessed to establish who and what has caused the damage to your hearing.
For example, if you were working in very noisy factory for twenty years of your working life and had also worked for a couple of years self-employed in a noisy environment, it could be argued that your self-employment period had caused the damage therefore making it impossible to claim. In reality though it is quite obvious that the longer period of employment was to blame for your deafness. In these types of cases it is crucial that the period of employment is longer than the period of self-employment or your claim is likely to fall at the first hurdle.
Another example of compensation claims where self-employment is present but eligibility to claim remains, is exacerbation of an existing condition. It may be possible that a condition has developed during a self-employment period, such as asthma, dermatitis or a back injury, but now these conditions are being made worse by an employer. It is not always necessary for your employer to have caused the condition but if they have been made aware that you already suffer from one of these illnesses then they must take steps to prevent them becoming worse.
It may also be possible to claim for any of these conditions if you are self-employed but have worked somewhere else within the last 3 years that has caused an injury or illness. Although you are now self-employed your claim will still be in the valid limitation period meaning that we can still assess the injury and bring a claim against an employer who is responsible for your condition. It is always advisable to bring a claim against a former employer as soon as possible though as it will be easier to link the condition to the work carried out and it will give the solicitor plenty of time to issue the relevant documentation before the limitation period is up.
So, all is not lost if you are self-employed and wish to bring a claim for compensation. Roberts Jackson assess each claim on an individual basis and can provide free, straight forward legal advice to anyone who gets in touch. We aim to deliver the highest standard of client care and will do everything in our power to win compensation on your behalf.
If you or anyone you know is self-employed and are not sure whether there a grounds for a valid compensation claim, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today and find out where you stand.